Don’t penalize students for speaking in Filipino, native languages – youth solon

IN LIGHT of the celebration of Buwan ng Wika this August, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino renewed the youth sector’s call for the promotion of the national language and other native languages in educational institutions.

Palatino also called on schools and universities to stop enforcing policies that restrict the usage of Filipino in classrooms and academic work.

“Many schools impose fines to students for speaking Filipino and other native languages while in school, supposedly to promote English proficiency. This, in turn, discourages students from using the native tongue and hinders the development of the national language as a language of instruction,” Palatino said.

While most school administrations don’t impose institutionalized sanctions, many teachers, by practice, informally impose penalties through classroom fines and “speak English” policies even in gyms and restrooms, Palatino explained. Some teachers reportedly tell students that they will even call their parents to check if they speak English at home.

“The strict imposition of a second language, at the expense of the native tongue, has dire effects to the psychological formation of a child. Some children may even view these instructions as threats, thus affecting them emotionally,” Palatino explained.

Palatino filed House Resolution No. 1567 in August 8 last year, which calls for the House Committee on Basic Education and the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education to investigate policies employed by teachers and school administrations that discourage the use of Filipino and other native languages. However, the bill is still pending in the said committees.

“The celebration of Buwan ng Wika is an opportune moment for legislators, school administrators, and teachers to review policies involving our national language and think of creative ways to promote, and not penalize, speaking in the native tongue,” Palatino said.

“For Filipino and other native languages to be truly promoted, its usage must not be restricted by any means, especially in the formative years of students,” Palatino added, explaining that even while the promotion of English language usage is justifiable given its international usage, it should never justify sanctions imposed on speaking in the native tongue.

“The promotion of one language should not hinder the proliferation of another. Schools should think of innovative ways to promote English proficiency that do not result to the degradation and mockery of Filipino and other native languages,” Palatino said.

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