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House panel approves suspension of the use of Mother Tongue

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A proposal to stop Kindergarten through Grade 3 students from learning in their mother tongues has hurdled a committee in the House of Representatives.

The unnumbered substitute bill to HBs 2188, in consolidation with HB 3925, seeks to address the glaring lack of learning materials in the mother tongue language in schools and ensure the adherence to the constitutional mandate to provide a quality education that is accessible to all learners in the basic education, was approved by the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture during a hearing on Wednesday. The committee is chaired by Roman Romulo, a representative from Pasig.

According to the proposed bill, the suspension would last until the Department of Education (DepEd) could certify to Congress that it had finished producing books, teaching materials, and supplies for students in Kindergarten through Grade 3 who wanted to effectively use their mother tongue or first language.

Even though Romulo fully supports the goals and justifications behind the development of the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) provisions in the Republic Act No. 10533, also known as the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, Romulo claimed that schools lack the necessary resources to carry out the intended goals.

Despite having the utmost passion to provide our people with an education that is competitive internationally, Romulo claimed that “we have entirely failed to consider the proper preparations that are necessary to fruitfully implement the requirements of the law.”

He said, “Our primary school students are burdened with learning an alien language, and worse, they do not have sufficient tools to understand the said language, instead of understanding the teachings and extending their knowledge which the law intends to reach.

The Academic Recovery and Accessible Learning (ARAL) Program alternative measures were also accepted by the panel.

The ARAL Program seeks to close the achievement gap between learners’ current and predicted levels of learning competencies and to make sure that students master the fundamental skills in reading, science, and mathematics.

Additionally, it would act as the country’s academic intervention program to help students in basic education who are experiencing academic difficulties and learning loss.

The following students would be included in the program: a) those who are failing exams and tests as determined by their teachers; b) those whose grades are at or just above the minimum threshold necessary to achieve the Most Essential Learning Competencies; and c) those who have returned or are returning to school following a furlough.

The program would employ tutors from any of the following groups: 1) students in teacher education programs; 2) participants in the Department of Labor and Employment’s government internship program; 3) students enrolled in higher and technical-vocational educational institutions who are participating in the National Training Services under the National Service Training Program; 4) volunteers from NGOs or civil society organizations, and 5) unpaid individuals.

-PNA

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