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Bill pushes native language as medium of instruction in elementary schools

May 1, 2008 1:15pm

MANILA, Philippines - A lawmaker pushed the use of native languages as the primary medium of instruction in elementary schools to increase literacy among young students.

Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo filed House Bill 3719 which seeks to institutionalize the child's first language to be used as the primary medium of instructions in all subjects from pre-school up to the end of elementary education.

The bill also aims to establish a multi-lingual education program in the elementary level, proposing that the native language, English and Filipino be taught as separate subjects at the elementary level.

"Using the language the child understands not only affirms the value of the child and his cultural heritage but also enables the child to immediately master the lessons in the school curriculum and at the same time facilitates the acquisition of Filipino and English," Gunigundo said.

The bill proposed that English and Filipino will be gradually introduced as medium of instruction in some parts of the elementary school curriculum only starting from Grade IV.

Gunigundo cited data culled by education language experts worldwide showing the multi-lingual approach to be a more effective tool for literacy.

He said that as the mother tongue is utilized in the classroom, the critical thinking skills that are developed among the pupils transfer to other languages when those languages become functional.

"Language scholars around the world unanimously say that children learn best in their own languages, not in a foreign language, and students taught in the mother tongue appeared to be more active in class and were able to learn more," Gunigundo said.

The bill proposes that at the secondary level, English and Filipino will be the medium of instruction, while the first language, the native tongue, will be used as auxiliary medium.

In the tertiary level, the current language policy as prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will be retained. - GMANews.TV
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