Tuesday, December 23, 2008

While the Door of Observation Swings Open...

Is there anything journalistically wrong with this headline on the front page of our favorite newspaper this morning?

English-only bill faces tough fight?

Nothing, unless of course it is NOT true!
The bill states that:

* English, Filipino or the regional/native language may be used as the teaching language in all subjects from pre-school to Grade 3;

* English shall be the teaching language in all academic subjects from Grades 4 to 6, and in all levels of high school;

* English and Filipino shall be taught as separate subjects in all levels of elementary and high school;

* The current language policy prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education shall be maintained in college; and

* English shall be promoted as the language of interaction in schools.
It is important for certain people, you see, to deny that English is perhaps our most precious intellectual and cultural heritage. They cannot reconcile themselves with history as it has truly and really been lived by the Filipino people during the last one hundred years or more. They would deny that we are now part of the Western world and the Anglosphere, and irrevocably so. They would cast the nation down to the Babel of a language and ethnic apartheid composed of over 160 separate languages and barely limnable tribal affiliations. They believe in a silly set of ideas, falling under a mistaken appreciation of the "Mother Language hypothesis" that serves only one master: political correctness. At the practical level, they steadfastly refuse to see to the real needs of our global, mobile work force: the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) whose singular edge of acceptability and assimilability has been the English language. Likewise, they would shut our doors, xenophobically, to the vast opportunities in call centers, back office operations, software development, technical support, medical and legal transcription services, etc. in order to maintain the current education system's strange arrangement, in which more than half the teaching time is done in the vernacular instead of the global lingua anglica.


blackshama said...


It's historical fiat. The Spanish never were serious in teaching Castellano, so we only have membership in the Latin Union as consuelo de bobo. The Americans (best of all the Episcopalians!) taught Filipinos English. English for all intents and purposes has to have official status in this country.

However your arguments fall flat when we are talking about acquisition of literacy and numeracy. The Mother Language theory has empirical support here. It is essential that a child acquires these important skills before learning a second language such as English.

The bilingualism of DepEd is a major flop as reviewed by learning and language experts.

You can't English speakers and thus OFWs, merchant mariners, software developers etc without an ability to acquire the basic literacy and numeracy skills and this is best in the mother language.

Now if all of us were conyos and had English as a first language then this wouldn't be an issue! This leads us to language apartheid which you refer to but fail to recognize that the elite of this country are practitioners of that!

john marzan said...

napansin ko hindi na "Philippine-American" ang title ng blog.

DJB Rizalist said...

John, Just a little SEO experiment I was conducting during the period of the elections.

Anonymous said...

Just like much of everything done in the PI, this is much ado about nothing!

Pedestrian Observer GB said...

Season's Greetings to you DJ and your readers..... your gift from Gloria awaits you at Pedestrian Observer GB.

EQ said...

Philippine Commentary: We don't always agree with Dean's views but we always admire his eloquent prose.

One of EQ's Top Ten Pinoy Blogs for 2008.

Anonymous said...

From what I know, the emphasis on the primarily local language (not necessarily Filipino) is not based on "political correctness" but studies that can be accessed in the ERIC database.