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TOK: Mother Tongue Program

September 5, 2012

The Mother Tongue Instruction Program was started by DepEd around May, early this year. It is stated that a few of the local dialects we can find in the Philippines will be used to teach students, namely Tagalog, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Iloko, Bikol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray, Tausug, Maguindanaoan, Maranao, and Chavacano, in their own respective provinces.


Even though this program gives us a sense of nationality, I do not support this program. What DepEd wants to do is that the language will be used as the main language of the students, while Tagalog and English will be the second and third subjects. It may be easy for the students to adjust to this way of learning, since they are using a language that they are accustomed to, but I feel that being able to learn and use Tagalog and English properly at a young age is more important. The society we live in today is rapidly developing, in terms of technology, reading, etc. Since Tagalog and English are the ones used in most areas, being less fluent in them would sort of “decapitate” a person in society, not being able to communicate with the rest of the people. It would be harder for these students to use modern technology and other materials, since most of them are in English, and English is third in DepEd’s priority list.  


Another thing that DepEd wants is that the students, starting Grade 1, to be able to develop the four macro skills in learning (to be able to listen, speak, read and write the language). Their goal is to make the students learn the language efficiently, but since they plan to introduce the second and third languages on the same year, wouldn’t it be too much to expect all the students to adapt quickly, while absorbing everything at the same time?


This leads us to ask, in our world of advanced technology, is it necessary to learn the Lingua Franca and four other languages as a medium of instruction? As nationalistic as that sounds, the world around us is engulfed in the English language. Will the students who learn these languages be able to apply them when they get jobs? Isn’t English a more important requirement when finding a job?


Therefore, we can say that the implementation of this project is not that relevant to the lives of the people, but only in terms of surviving and earning a living in our world today. If a person focuses on a language that is not Tagalog or English here in the Philippines, they would have a harder time to communicate with others. They would be pressured to learn something that would not really be needed later in life in a young age, and when they start seeking employment, they would not really be able to use what they learn. 

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