While the decision of the incoming administration to review the K to 12 Program was “very much” welcomed, a group of Filipino language advocates urged the President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to reconsider using English as a sole medium of instruction.
Tanggol Wika, a Filipino language advocacy group, expressed dismay on the stand of the incoming president who has “already made clear what his administration’s language policy would be.”
During a press conference on June 20, Marcos said that he and incoming Education Secretary and Vice President-elect Sara Duterte have been discussing the review of the K to 12 program.
While there is not much detail yet, Marcos said that his incoming administration will prioritize reviewing the need for K to 12 and make the curriculum “better.”
“There was also the question of when we start to teach in English, when we move from the lingua franca to English,” he said.
Tanggol Wika said that reviewing K to 12 is “long overdue.”
Citing Section 13 of Republic Act No. 10533 or the K to 12 Law, the group noted that the “Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Enhanced Basic Educational Program” was tasked “to oversee, monitor and evaluate” K to 12’s implementation.
“A cursory online search did not yield any public comprehensive report released by this committee as of this writing,” the group said.
Given this, the group said that Marcos’ order for a K to 12 “review is very much welcome.”
Tanggol Wika also enumerated some “practical insights” to inform whatever K to 12 review that the national government intends to conduct.
The group pointed out that any K to 12 review will have to be conducted in a “bottom-up, rather than top-down approach” because such a review will have to engage stakeholders and all sectors affected by the educational policy. “Another top-down review won’t suffice and will even worsen things,” Tanggol Wika said.
Likewise, the group said that any change in the curriculum’s content is “useless and won’t change anything” if the government fails to resolve existing backlogs in resources.
Moreover, Tanggol Wika stressed that “any change in the curriculum’s content is useless and won’t change anything if the government carries on with the illogical policy of using English as the sole medium of instruction for Science, Math and other related fields in basic education.”
The group noted that other than “insufficient funds” for public education, the government’s “perennial obsession with the forced use of English in education is to blame for the current mess we are in.”
Citing results of international and local standardized tests, Tanggol Wika said that “many of our students have insufficient competence in using English in academic settings, yet our government insists on using it as the medium of instruction and as a language of assessment/testing too.”
Given this, the group urged Marcos to rethink the plan to use English as the official medium of instruction in Philippine schools.
“[This] should be shelved, if we are to have any slight chance of improving the quality of education in the country,” Tanggol Wika added.