On the road to Multilingual Education

The use of Filipino, Cebuano, Ilonggo, Pampango, Ilocano or whatever is the language of the pupil in teaching Mathematics and Science may soon be the practice from Preschool to Grade 3 throughout the public school system. This scenario emerged at the First Philippine Conference-Workshop on Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education (MTB MLE) held on 18 to 20 February at Capitol University, Cagayan de Oro City close on the heels of the issuance of DepED Order 74 series of 2009 dated July 14 entitled “Institutionalizing Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education.”

The DepED Order, which was for immediate dissemination and compliance, cites local and international research consistent with the Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda (BESRA) recommendations, as bases for affirming the benefits and relevance of institutionalizing multilingual education.

MTB MLE, as defined in the Order, is the effective use of more than two languages for literacy and instruction. Briefly, the Order enjoins all Regional Directors and Superintendents to promote and encourage local participation in the formulation of region-specific schemes to support MLE; provision of orientation and training opportunities on MLE; planning and implementation of MLE programs utilizing Maintenance and Operating Expenses (MOOE), school board funds, and other education funds; and establishment of an MLE technical working group at the regional and division levels.

Bridging Plans to guide the Order’s implementation are included. They specify that at Grade 4, the language of learning and instruction (LOLI) for both Science and Mathematics is to be English. The full text of the order, including enclosures, may be downloaded from the DepED website http://www.deped.gov.ph/cpanel/uploads/issuanceImg/DO No. 74, s. 2009.pdf)

This latest language policy of DepED points NISMED towards the development of research-based materials for teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in (at least) the major languages of the Philippines.