Saturday, April 28, 2007

Backward Mentality (Should Be English)

MANILA, Philippines -- Educators, including a retired Supreme Court justice, have asked the high court to nullify an executive order requiring the use of English as the principal medium of instruction beginning with the first grade.

In its 24-page petition for certiorari, prohibition with preliminary injunction, the Wika ng Kultura at Agham Inc. (WIKA, Language of Culture and Science), led by retired justice Isagani Cruz, said Executive Order (EO) 210 issued by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo "anti-poor and alienates Filipino school children from their Filipino heritage" and would make them "functional illiterates."

"The EO and the implementing order deprives school children coming from the lower socio-economic classes of the desired benefits in education for it has been shown that due to poverty, such school children receive very little public education, or a poorer quality of education than that available to rich families," the petitioners said.

Citing government and institutional studies, the petition said children in grade schools will learn much faster if they are taught in Filipino.

They also said the executive order and Department of Education (DepEd) Order 36 are unconstitutional.

EO 210 (Establishing the Policy to Strengthen English as a Second Language in the Educational System) was issued May 17, 2003. DepEd Order No. 36 contains its implementing rules.

Under the order, English should be used as the primary medium of instruction in all public institutions at the secondary level, relegating Filipino to being the medium of instruction in the subjects Filipino and Araling Panlipunan.

"The provisions of EO 210 and DepEd Oder No. 36 that English shall be taught as a second language starting with the first grade violates the above-quoted provisions of the Constitution since Filipino is actually only the second language in non-Tagalog areas. The EO thus subverts the present status of Filipino in non-Tagalog areas, and violates the constitutional injunction that regional languages shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction," the petition said.

They added the 1991 report of the Congressional Commission on Education recommended that the vernacular and Filipino should be the medium of instruction for basic education.

Because of this study, the education department implemented in 1991 and 1998 a program for the development of instructional materials in Filipino and, by the year 2000, all subjects except English and other languages were taught in Filipino. ( )