Bill amending use of mother tongue in basic educ filed in Senate

Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Senator Win Gatchalian wants to redefine the use of the mother tongue as a medium of instruction in basic education.

Hence, Gatchalian filed Senate Bill 2457, amending the Republic Act 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, seeking to address challenges surrounding the implementation of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education in the basic education institutions in the country.

Gatchalian proposed that except for monolingual classes from Kindergarten to Grade 3, the delivery of basic education shall continue to use Filipino and until otherwise provided by law, English, which is also in accordance with Section 7, Article 14 of the 1987 Constitution.

The senator seeks the use of regional languages as "auxiliary media of instruction" saying it is a "flexible approach provided under the Constitution itself."

He said the SB 2457 provides, however, that the principles and framework of the MTB-MLE shall continue in monolingual classes—which refer to groups of learners who speak the same mother tongue and are enrolled in the same grade level.

Gatchalian cited that data from the 2020 Census of Population and Housing shows that the country has about 245 reported languages nationwide.

However, he noted that the Department of Education officially covers only 19 languages in implementing MTB-MLE.

He even bared that some of the widely spoken dialects such as Boholano, Masbateño, and Kankanaey are not included in the coverage of 19 languages.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Basic Education, recalled the four public hearings held on the implementation of the MTB-MLE, wherein it was revealed "that all studies presented on the use of the mother tongue were conducted in monolingual settings."

This, he said, is making the Philippines an "experiment on the use of mother tongue in a multilingual setting."

The 2019 study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies showed that only 9 percent of the surveyed schools complied with the 4-minima requirements for good implementation of the MTB-MLE; writing big books on language, literature, and culture, documenting the orthography of the language, documenting the grammar of language; and writing a dictionary of the language.

Gatchalian said such results reflect the findings of class observations and focus group discussions he previously conducted in various schools within Pangasinan, Cebu, Davao, and Muntinlupa City.

Daily Tribune