Multi-Lingual Education program for San Juan City

Multi-Lingual Education and literacy program proposed for SJ

Outgoing three-term San Juan city councilor Dante Santiago has proposed the possible implementation and institutionalization of the mother tongue-based Multi-Lingual Education and literacy program in all public schools in the city of San Juan, Metro Manila.

In City Resolution No. 30-2010, which he principally authored, Santiago requested the new administration of the City of San Juan led by the honorable mayor Guia Gomez, the 3rd city council and the city school board to strongly consider the application, implementation or institutionalization of the mother tongue-based multi-lingual education and literacy program in all public schools in the city.

Santiago explained that the language being used in school as the Mode of Instruction (MOl) is fundamental to the thinking learning and identity of every child, and it plays a critical role in determining one’s academic achievements. “This, in fact, is now recognized and widely accepted,” he said.

The former councilor also cited Department of Education Order No. 74 Series of 2009 which confirmed that the lessons and findings of various local initiatives and international studies in basic education have validated the superiority of the use of the learner’s mother tongue or first language in improving learning outcomes and promoting Education for All (EFA)

“The DepED Order institutionalized MLE as a fundamental educational policy and program in this Department in the whole stretch of formal education including pre-school and in the Alternative Learning System or ALS,” Santiago said in his explanatory note.

The Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education, also referred to as MLE, is the effective use of more than two languages for literacy and instruction.

Studies reveal that of the 57.59 million Filipinos aged 10 to 64 years old chosen as respondents for the Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS), 5.24 million Filipinos could not read and write, while 7.83 million could not read, write and compute;

The same survey finds that 18.37 million Filipinos could not read, write, compute and comprehend; and it reveals that the literacy rate among the poor is even more alarming, with one out of two people (46%) not being able to understand what they read;

The Department of Education likewise ordered all Undersecretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Bureau Directors, Directors of Services, Centers and Heads of Units, Regional Directors, Schools Division /City Superintendents, and Heads of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary Schools to comply with the said Order and directed all Bureau Directors to provide the field offices through the regional offices successful models of language of learning that have been developed and have resulted in the students’/learners’ higher cognitive development and faster acquisition of basic literacy.

Santiago clarified that under this program, students in the pre-school and maybe up to the third grade may be taught in their first language or lingual franca, meaning, the academic subjects including math, science, health and social studies will be taught initially using the native language, and as the students develop cognitive skills or a strong foundation in their first language, they will be introduced to the English language orally and then in the written form.

To fund this program, the Doped issued Order No. 60 issued on August 27, 2008, authorizing the utilization of MOOE, school board funds and other funds for the expenditures that. may be required during the planning and implementation phases of using the mother tongue as a language of instruction like, but not limited to: a) developing, printing and distributing teachers’/facilitators’ guides, students’/learners’ workbooks, and other instructional materials; b) training of teachers and hiring specialists; and c) other auxiliary services including advocacy work and community mobilization and evaluation and monitoring of learning outcomes.

A reference material relevant to this program is a primer called “21 Reasons Why Filipino Children Learn better When Using Their Mother Tongue” by Professor Ricardo Ma. Duran Mohasco, PhD. Of the University of the Philippines.

“More importantly, the MLE is in line with the San Juan’s thrust of promoting cultural vibrancy and preserving its well-known historic heritage, and that include intangibles such as the Tagalog language,” Santiago explained.