Scrapping MTB-MLE policy will not address learning crisis | Inquirer Opinion

Scrapping MTB-MLE policy will not address learning crisis

/ 05:02 AM October 17, 2022

Last Sept. 13, the House of Representatives committee on basic education and culture deliberated on the suspension of the implementation of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE). If this pushes through, 19 languages will be out of the curriculum from kindergarten to third-grade levels. Now tell me, what does this risky move tell us about how we are as Filipinos?

Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo and Baguio City Rep. Mark Go have filed bills proposing to discard MTB-MLE from Republic Act No. 10533 on account of a lack of learning materials. But research shows that MTB-MLE can significantly improve students’ understanding because it provides students with a teaching and learning medium that is easily understood and incorporated into their daily life.

I’m a pure Ilocano kid who grew up mostly using our Ilocano language. The first words that came out of my mouth aside from “mama” and “papa” were probably from the same language I was exposed to. I always struggled as a young learner. Curious about how this potential law will affect the child I once was, I talked to an expert from my province. He said that there is high anxiety among students to recite because of the language used in class. But when MTB-MLE was applied, classes became more lively. Hearing this, I felt seen, and the self-doubt I experienced as a kid felt reasonable.

This isn’t the first time that the government is trying to wipe out our identity by denying learners the opportunity to learn in their mother tongue. As cliché as it may sound, learning is indeed a lifetime process. If not for new and more extensive knowledge about the language, retaining the Filipino and mother tongue subjects will serve as a reminder of what we are and how we came to be as Filipinos. We are not just called citizens of the Philippines because of how we look, our complexion’s hue, and our simple gestures that are distinct from other nationalities. The language that we use plays a huge role in terms of our culture and heritage.


Ever wondered why it’s such a shame for women joining a beauty pageant to ask for an interpreter during the question and answer round? Because it is embedded in our DNA that fluency in the English language will define one’s intelligence. Our negligence toward what’s ours is so apparent every time we are so invested in judging others’ capability to perform under pressure in a medium that they’re not comfortable with. Unfortunately, it’s the same with our young learners inside the academe.

True enough, proficiency in the world’s universal language will serve as an advantage when looking at it from a global perspective. That is why I advocate that English should be introduced to a child as early as possible without sacrificing the use of our regional languages.

Ilocos Norte

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TAGS: Letters to the Editor, medium of instruction, Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education

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