DepEd pushes for preservation of linguistic diversity

Published March 26, 2022, 6:40 AM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

To further understand the importance of mother tongue-based education, the Department of Education (DepEd) underscored the importance of increasing advancement in vernacular language teaching.

(Photo courtesy of DepEd)

“Multilingual development occurs because of various influences in the digital, volitive, uncertain complex, ambiguous, diverse world when dialects and languages are endangered,” Education Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado M. San Antonio said.

DepEd, he explained, continues to propagate the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) in the schools by creating and using instructional materials on the different languages in teaching to sustain preservation efforts and suspend them from extinction.

Citing data from UNESCO, 40 percent of the global population has little or no access to education in their first language, which leads to more languages becoming extinct.

As stated in DepEd Order No. 74 series of 2009, the Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia to have instituted a national policy requiring MTB-MLE in the primary school years.

“In our efforts to push literacy, we feel more challenged to review and reshape the curriculum anchored on learner-centered principles, including culture-based education that highlights mother tongue-based and multilingual teaching to promote humanity and inclusivity,” San Antonio said.

“We converge because of this divergence that is multilingual. We celebrate it. We commit to preserving it because this makes us truly Filipinos. This makes us uniquely global,” he added.

During this year’s celebration of International Mother Language Day, DepEd also called for increased awareness in the preservation of linguistic diversity.

The celebration aims to start a conversation among teachers, learners, and other education stakeholders on the progress being made in mother tongue-based multilingual education and its growing understanding of its importance, particularly in early schooling, and commitments to its development in public life.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones explained that the goal of the MTB-MLE is to produce learners who are multi-literate, multilingual, and multicultural.

“Learning in our mother tongue is crucial in enhancing other skills such as critical thinking, skills to learn a second language, and literacy skills,” Briones said.Meanwhile, National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) Executive Director Oscar G. Casaysay commended the efforts of DepEd for its national policies that encapsulate the importance of strengthening the Philippines’ mother language.

“Programs on Language can be challenging to strengthen our identity as Filipinos but when plan accurately and implemented on a national level it will inculcate a strong sense of nationhood and deep respect for cultural diversity,” he said.