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Bahasa in schools? DepEd eyes 2nd foreign language
Rainier Allan Ronda - March 22, 2013 - 12:00am

HANOI — Filipino school children will be encouraged to take up a second foreign language in the two-year senior high school under the K-12 basic education curriculum (BEC) reform program.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro told The STAR that studying a second foreign language will make Filipinos truly multilingual.

“We start with the mother tongue in kinder up to Grade 3, and then Filipino and English, and in senior high school, they should take up another foreign language, hopefully another ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) language or Mandarin,” he said.

Luistro said the study of a second foreign language will be optional.

“We should promote Bahasa Indonesia or Malay,” he said. “Actually, the two resemble each other.”

Luistro said the two Malay languages are easier to learn for Filipinos since they resemble the Filipino language. Both are written in the Latin script, not like in Thai, Mandarin, Japanese and Korean, he added.

Knowing a language of another ASEAN country will allow Filipinos to benefit more from the expected tremendous growth of the ASEAN in the coming years, he said.

Mandarin and Arabic were taught in selected public high schools in school year 2011-2012.

The Department of Education has been teaching other foreign languages in selected public schools. DepEd has also offered Spanish, French, German and Japanese in select public schools.

The Special Program in Foreign Language was designed for schools whose students have demonstrated competence in English before starting to learn another foreign language.

DepEd piloted foreign languages in selected high schools starting with Spanish, Japanese and French in school year 2009-2010. The following year, German was introduced.

Spanish is being taught in 54 high schools nationwide, Japanese in 13 high schools, French in 12 high schools and German in nine high schools.

The program is being piloted in public secondary schools – particularly those with speech laboratories – for students who are in the last two years of high school. They are allotted four hours weekly to learn a language.

DepEd has made arrangements with Instituto Cervantes, Japan Foundation Manila, Alliance Français, and Goethe Institute to prepare teachers to handle classes in Spanish, Japanese, French and German.

The DepEd’s K-12 BEC program seeks to transform the 10 year BEC with six years of elementary and four years of high school to a 12-year BEC with a mandatory kindergarten and a Grade 1 to 12 path.

The current first year will be turned into Grade 7 and fourth year will become Grade 10, with the additional two years of senior high school becoming Grade 11 and 12.

The MTB-MLE program was one of the education programs Luistro believes was worth sharing with other education ministers in the SEAMEO 47th Council Conference in Hanoi.

Luistro said the United Kingdom had become an associate member in the Southeast Asian Nations Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) 47th Council Conference held in Hanoi this week.

It is the ninth non-ASEAN member country to do so, he added. Other associate members in SEAMEO are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Spain.

“They know that Asia, in this case ASEAN, is very forward looking and has a lot of promise,” he said.

“They want to be part of whatever is happening in SEA... If they are not part of the developments here, they will be left behind.”

PHguy March 23, 2013 12:44am
Kung hindi ako bihasa sa Tagalog at mas gugustuhin kong makipag-usap sa mga kamag-anak ko, sa guro ko, sa mga kaklase ko, sa mga kapitbahay ko, sa mga makakasalamuha ko sa labas sa sarili kong wika, hindi ako Pilipino? Pag gusto kong Ingles ang gamitin ko, taksil ako sa bayan? Pag nagCebuano o nagHiligaynon ako, hindi ako Pilipino? Pinapakita na ng MTB-MLE ng K-12 na wala na tayong dapat pag pagdebatihan sa pambansang wika. Napakarami nang pag-aaral na sinasabing ang pinakaepektibong paraan para matuto ang bata hanggang sa pagtanda ay mag-aral at gumamit ng wikang ginagamit sa bahay at sa pakikipag-usap sa mga pinakamalapit na tao sa kanya. Hindi iisa lang ang wika sa Pilipinas. 100 hanggang 150 ang mga wika natin. Kung sa tingin mo "baluktot" magTagalog ang mga Bisaya, e dahil ibang mga wika ang sinasalita nila araw-araw. Bakit mo pipiliting ipaTagalog sila kung hindi naman sila Tagalog? Labag ang pananaw na yan hindi lang sa mga siyentipikong pag-aaral kundi pati na rin sa Universal Declaration of Human Rights ng United Nations. Lahat ng tao sa mundo ay may karapatang ipagtanggol, gamitin, kilalanin at palaganapin ang kani-kanilang sariling mga wika. Matagal nang lumalabag dito ang Pilipinas mula pa noong 1987 nang palitan nila yung clause sa Constitution na tinutukoy ang national language. Sorry, pero official language na ng La Union ang Ilokano. Nagpepetisyon na rin ang mga tao sa Pampanga para gawing opisyal ang Kapampangan. Hindi malayong susunod na rin ang ibang probinsya na hindi Tagalog ang kinagisnan ng mga tao. Panahon na para bigyang hustisya ang mga sarili nilang wika na parating inaalipusta ng pamahalaan at ng mass media. Wala akong problema sa wikang Tagalog o sa mga Tagalog. Ang problema ay ang sistema at hindi wastong pagbibigay-kahulugan ng gobyerno sa clause ng national language. Isa rin ang napakamali at nakakapanirang pananaw ng mga Pilipino sa wika dahil sa mga nagdaang dekadang puno ng hindi tamang impormasyon at pilosopiya sa bansa. Iniisip pa rin nila na "dialect" lang ang napakarami nating wika na sumasalamin sa iba't ibang karanasan, pananaw, kaalaman, sining at kasaysayan na hindi nadadala ng ibang wika. Iniisip din nila na kung hindi Tagalog ang salitain mo, hindi ka Pilipino.
Ning Mah March 22, 2013 10:46pm
Most present college graduates cannot even speak or write grammatically correct English and the secretary of education wants our students to learn another language. This is an absurd idea. Filipinos are the most woefully educated people in the world which is not surprising considering the mediocrity of majority of teachers. This isn't intended as a slight on the secretary of education but a well-meaning advice - he should change his barber or use more hair gel.
jasmin cubacub March 22, 2013 8:40pm
Unnecessary problems to the students who have to master 3 three languages .. mother tongue, Filipino and English. If additional language is needed to qualify the students who plan to work as DH after high school, let them study Arab or Italian as these are the Lingua Franca of the countries where Filipinos comprise the largest foreign group. If the youth want to go to Malaysia, Singapore or Indonesia, they can manage there with their English. NAPAKA O G A G yng Armin na yan..
rben March 22, 2013 3:11pm
In so many advance countries of the world a national language is one of the primary keys for unity & progress in commerce, industries, entertainments, sports, education, sciences. We must make our people be united and understand much better in far reaches of our archipelago by making Pilipino the language of choice in so many disciplines of communication: We must understand quickly better if we understand each other even if we're in the Visayas, Sulu, or Ilocandias by using just one national common lingo and erase the regional prejudice of tagalogs/pilipino against other local dialects. We must developed words that have no equivalence with even the english language & most would be forced to speak in english rather than Pilipino. Geared for the uneducated masses the use of a national Pilipino language instead of Taglish or engalog evolved into more understanding and unity among us Filipinos wherever we are in our archiplelago. Bahasa or any new language should come last if we have already attained these progress based on us understanding each other better in a common language that propel us to become progressive like those advance countries that just have one common national language!
philcruz March 22, 2013 1:14pm
Brother, you gotta be kidding.
philcruz March 22, 2013 1:09pm
These two languages, English and Chinese, are ideal for global citizens. Add Spanish, if another language is needed. But the first two are already sufficient.
t_dlcz March 22, 2013 11:39am
I do admire Bro. Armin's view on the language, but I think what the kids need to learn is not a language that is so similar to Filipino but Mandarin Chinese (since China is such an emerging and booming market and many people in businesses are Chinese) and also proper grammar and diction of the English language. :)
gemarcher23 March 22, 2013 10:47am
who speaks bahasa other than the indons? this is a ridiculous proposition! china is becoming a super power, so after english, chinese should be taught in schools. chinese schools teach the language, public and other private schools should follow suit! but bahasa? what on earth?
bissoy March 22, 2013 9:48am
Singapore, which is closer to Indo and malaysha, is not keen on learning bahasa. SG encourages ENG and MANDARIN. PH should learn Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, Taiwanese or even German. Giving much attention to another ASEAN language is a stab in PH back as ASEAN is useless in dealing with our concerns in the West PH Seas and Sabah. More Japanese companies coming to PH due to its spat with China, while S. Koreans will soon flood PH cities as NKorea gets nuts, Taiwan is good provider of jobs of Filipino. And Filipinos will soon take over the health and care giving sectors in Germany. But if esc luistro wants to learn bahasa, he should try it first with DLSU and see for himself how enthusiastic lasalle students will be.
banwahamili March 22, 2013 9:09am
Mr. Secretary, the bright future for the Philippines is to teach and train the youth for them to have solid foundation to SCIENCE and MATH. Instead na optional "language", dapat additional English or Science or Math subject. K to 12 is very good, and it is enough to move us forward. However, with your new idea, this one i have to say: "Education Secretary ka tapos walang ka kwenta-kwenta pinag-iisip mo".
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