A LOT of Filipinos abroad became uneasy after learning that the Department of Education (DepEd) has directed all schools to use the local native language as principal mode of instruction during the formative years of learning as it launched the K-12 program.
They fear that with the new directive we will lose our competitiveness in the world as our ability to speak English would suffer. They also commented that the quality of education would decline and that we will be a nation of fools.
But I say there is no basis for their fears. It is unfortunate that this archaic mindset apparently is proof that the west has succeeded in colonizing the mind of some of us.
I have nothing against learning English or other foreign languages for these are paths to a cosmopolitan way of thinking.
Being multi-lingual would surely help us in our dealings with other nations but it is crucial to our national development that we first master our own. It is a shame that despite being our second language, only a few have a mastery of English (mostly are from privileged and influential families). Worse an overwhelming majority of our people are not even masters of their own tongues.
This situation led to the rise of educated leaders who are divorced from the realities of the people they serve. It even led to anti-democratic tendencies and anti-Filipino sentiments in most of them.
Thus the government is now correct to insist that native languages be used early as the medium of instructions for this will allow us to properly grasp our identity. It will help in strengthening our character and the effort in nation building. English can be taught later to those who are interested to learn it.
Language, among others, is the summation of one’s identity. It is the embodiment of one’s experiences and it gives meaning to things, customs, traditions and the ways and means in communities. It is the principal way of communi-cation by the masses to their government.
With an educated minority speaking a foreign language (in our case English) and the vast majority unable to do so, a nation cannot stand for it is a house divided.
Language has never been a barrier to success as the experience of the primarily English speaking United States or United Kingdom, the German and French speaking nations of Europe, the Nihongo speaking Japan or the Mandarin speaking country of China have shown.
These countries grew and are still growing without having a foreign language as second na-tional tongue. (Pls. continue reading at www.remate.ph)
Note that English was first used as medium of instruction to colonize a nation and later as a means to support the government’s policy of labor exportation.
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