Gatchalian pushes gov't to roll out ‘mother tongue’-based learning ASAP

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday, October 20 expressed alarm over the government’s lack of readiness to implement the mother-tongue based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) noting that less than only 10 percent of the country’s schools is ready to effectively roll out the program.

“Our schools are not ready and our teachers are also not ready because based on DepEd's information, only 23 percent have been trained and that's not a good sign also in terms of making sure that the mother tongue is successfully implemented on the ground,” said Gatchalian, who heads the Senate Committee on Basic Education.

Gatchalian noted that a 2019 survey done by Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) showed that only nine (9) percent out of 16,287 schools surveyed condcted four activities needed to successfully implement MTB-MLE.

The Department of Education (DepEd) has yet to conduct its own impact study on the program.

The same PIDS study also identified schools’ reasons for not implementing the MTB-MLE, which included teachers’ lack of relevant teaching materials, schools’ lack of dictionary of the language, students’ lack of textbooks, and teachers’ lack of expertise in the school’s medium of instruction.

A separate assessment of the DepEd also showed that out of the 305,099 educators the department targeted to train, only 72,872 underwent training, including supervisors, school heads, and teachers from kindergarten to Grade 3.

The senator said the DepEd should fast track conducting its own impact study on the implementation of the MTB-MLE.

Under the K to 12 Law, education, instruction, teaching materials and assessment from kindergarten up to Grade 3 shall be in the regional or native language of the learners.

Under the law, the DepEd is mandated to formulate a mother language transition program from Grade 4 to Grade 6 so that Filipino and English shall be gradually introduced as languages of instruction until such time that these two languages can become the primary languages of instruction at the secondary level.

Gatchalian had earlier filed Senate Resolution No. 5 which seeks the Senate basic education panel’s review on the MTB-MLE as part of a broader review on the government’s implementation of the K to 12 program.