K+12 to use 12 mother tongues

- Artemio Dumlao -

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Iluko, Tagalog, and 10 other mother tongues in the country are to be used as medium of instruction this school year as the Department of Education (DepEd) implements the K+12 education program.

Baguio City schools official Augustino Laban said Iluko, the language used in most parts of the Ilocos and Cordillera provinces, will be used as the medium of instruction.

However, the education department is not discounting the use of other Cordillera dialects like native Kankanaey and Ibaloi, since these may also help improve the learning ability of children and preserve the culture of indigenous peoples.

Other dialects in the Cordillera include Tingguian, Bontok, Kalinga, Tuwali, Ayangan, Karao and Ysneg.

Meanwhile, DepEd Region 9 director Walter Albos listed Cebuano, Chabacano, Tausug and Maranao as the medium of instruction for kindergarten and Grades 1, 2 and 3 in public elementary schools in Western Mindanao.

Albos urged all elementary school administrators to adopt Cebuano, the major vernacular spoken in Western Mindanao, as medium of teaching in kindergarten and Grades 1 to 3 in the schools divisions of Zamboanga del Norte, Dipolog City, Zamboanga Sibugay, Dapitan City, Zamboanga del Sur and Pagadian City; Chabacano in Zamboanga City and Isabela City; Tausug in Muslim-populated villages of Zamboanga City and Isabela, and Maranao in Zamboanga Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay coastal barangays inhabited by people from Lanao provinces.

Earlier, Albos directed the Mother Tongue-Based Multi-Lingual Education (MTB-MLE) Region 9 training team to conduct appropriate school-based training for teachers in the eight Western Mindanao schools divisions to ensure success of the new program.

The nationwide use of the MTB-MLE was stipulated in a directive issued in 2009 by then Education secretary Jesli Lapus, which his successor current DepEd chief Armin Luistro will enforce nationwide when classes open on June 4.

Luistro identified the other eight regional languages as Ilocano, Tagalog, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Bikol, Waray, Hiligaynon, and Maguindanaon.

DepEd national coordinator for MTB-MLE Rosalina Villaneza noted that it took several years for the department to research and study the new program before the agency finally decided to schedule its pilot implementation.

Villaneza stressed that studies show that using the child’s mother tongue as language of literacy “bolsters comprehension and critical thinking skills of children and facilitates acquisition of a second language such as English or Filipino.”

Albos also explained that the DepEd directive aims at enhancing language, cognitive and academic development of the child even as it also “seeks to create social and cultural awareness among the children by promoting their local heritage, language and culture.”

Consequently, Luistro made the MTB-MLE a significant part of DepEd’s K+12 Enhanced Basic Education Program – composed of mandatory kindergarten, six years elementary education, four years junior high school and two years senior high school – which, he said, would be enforced in two modes, as a subject or learning area and as a medium of teaching.

As a subject area, MTB-MLE will focus on developing the children’s reading skills and fluency in their mother tongue from kindergarten up to Grade 3, while Filipino and English will be introduced as separate subjects in the first and second semesters of Grade 1. – With Antonio Rimando












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