English as a Medium of Instruction

Baby talk, Bilingual education, Taiwan

Filipino vs. English as the medium of instruction

The English vs. Filipino debate is once again a hot topic.

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the government?s policy of using English as the medium of instruction in our schools. According to those who filed the petition, the push for the use of English in our classrooms will only lead to further deterioration of what?s already been described as a rather inferior quality of education.

Those who support the 2003 Executive Order filed by President Arroyo on the other hand argue that doing away with English as the medium of instruction will inevitably hurt the country and our people more because they believe that a less competitive workforce will emerge.

I find myself a bit torn with this issue.

3 months ago, I would have been right on the side of government. Having had the opportunity to travel and study abroad, I fully recognize the value of being able to speak and write fluently in English. I know that it was due in part to my English proficiency that I didn?t have as much difficulty in trying to find a job as the rest of my 'international' friends. I didn?t have to enroll in ESL classes which could have delayed my program for another year. I didn?t get lost around town as much and I was able to meet and make friends easily because there was no language barrier. So, I really benefited a lot from learning English in my grade school and high school years.

But then three months ago, I also didn?t know much about the state of education in the Philippines. Fortunately, since I returned, I?ve learned quite a bit about the ?ills? of our public education system. I guess this is why I find myself torn.

I recognize that learning to speak and write in English in this age of globalization is necessary especially if we would like to be able to compete in the knowledge-based world. Such a training can best be done in a...
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