English as a Medium of Instruction

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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 classroom. But if we look at things realistically, it seems like our public education system is just not set up for this yet.

And so I just can?t help but wonder? should we really impose a certain language as the primary medium of instruction? I understand that standards are needed and must be met. But couldn?t we perhaps just be a bit more liberal with our views? Shouldn?t teachers be allowed to use the most effective communication tools that will allow them to articulate their lesson plans best? Wouldn?t that, in the end, help their students to grasp the material better and truly learn?

Posted by: Lourdes Villanueva
Date posted: Jun 20,2007
http://jesusisonline.wordpress.com/2008/06/10/legislators-push-english-as-medium-of-instruction/ A check on the bills filed in the 14th Congress shows that there are three bills—House Bills 230, 305, 406—seeking for either the re-instatement or enhancement of the use of English as a medium of instruction. The three bills propose the use of English, Filipino or the regional languages as MOI in all subjects from pre-school to Grade II. They prescribe the use of English for all academic subjects from Grade III up to the secondary level. Proponents of these bills claim that the decline in the English proficiency of the Filipinos and the deterioration of the quality of the education have eroded the competitiveness of the Filipinos. Rep. Eduardo Gullas, author of HB 305, said in the bill’s explanatory note that the proposed legislation aims to correct the defects of the current Bilingual Education Program (BEP) of the Department of the Education, which was introduced in 1974. The BEP mandated the teaching not only of Filipino as a subject in all levels but also the use of Filipino as MOI in Social Studies, Character Education, Values Education, Physical Education, Industrial Arts and Home Economics. Gullas said learning of the English language suffered a setback when the BEP was introduced in 1974. “The use of Filipino as...
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