Mother tongue-based education produces more inventors – educator

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/13 Sept) – Not only call center agents but, more importantly, inventors, intellectuals and artists will be produced from a multilingual education that uses the mother tongue as a medium of instruction, an educator said Wednesday.

Cecille Osorio-Van Zante, literacy specialist of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), guesting at the Club 888 forum at The Marco Polo Davao, said the cognitive development of a child starts early with a mother tongue-based instruction in a multilingual education.

She said this teaching strategy will strengthen the second language learning of a child, including analysis of the language being learned, thus making him or her more confident to articulate ideas and develop skills in a chosen specialization.

Citing a recent study, she said students fared higher in English subject in a class using the mother tongue, than in a class using English as a medium of instruction. This, she added, was also true in other subjects such as Math, Reading, Filipino and Makabayan.

Based on 2008 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS), 86.4 percent of Filipinos in the entire country within 10-64 years old can read, write and compute. For Region 11, the figure is 81.7 percent, according to the survey.

Also in the same age group, Filipinos who can read, write, compute and understand comprise 69.9 percent in the Philippines; it is 57.3 percent in the region.

Van Zante said the FLEMMS results show that the Philippine education system using English as a medium of instruction is not fairly beneficial to most Filipinos.

She said that is why educators and other stakeholders will convene here on September 15 to heighten awareness and appreciation of mother tongue-based multilingual education as a key strategy for promoting greater access to education and quality instruction.

The forum will also assess the state of literacy in the Philippines and assess how far has the country succeeded in achieving the six Education for All goals at the end of the literacy decade.

At least 100 teachers, students, school deans, principals, and department chairs are invited to the forum to plan for initiatives in addressing challenges in literacy empowerment.

To be held at the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU), the activity will also be a way of celebrating the international literacy day with a theme “Pagdiriwang ng Pandaigdigang Araw ng Pagbasa’t Pagsulat”.

Aside from Van Zante, the resource persons include Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo of Valenzuela City, Dr. Catherine Young of SIL Philippines, Dr. Ricardo Ma. Nolasco and Dr. Francisco A. Datar of the University of the Philippines-Diliman, Dr. Butch Rufino of the Department of Education, Fanny Divino of the Save the Children, Dr. Pamela Castrillo and Prof. Maricar Gay Panda of the ADDU. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)