/ 26 March 2022

TO MARK International Mother Language Day, the Department of Education called for increased awareness on the importance of mother tongue-based education.

“Multilingual development occurs because of various influences in the digital, volitive, uncertain complex, ambiguous, diverse world when dialects and languages are endangered. We continue to propagate Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education in the schools by creating and using instructional materials on the different languages in teaching to sustain preservation efforts and suspend them from extinction,” Education Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Diosdado San Antonio said.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said that the goal of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education “is to produce learners who are multi-literate, multilingual, and multicultural.”

“Learning in our mother tongue is crucial in enhancing other skills such as critical thinking, skills to learn a second language, and literacy skills,” Briones said.

According to UNESCO, 40 percent of the global population has little or no access to education in their first language, which leads to more languages becoming extinct.

“Programs on Language can be challenging to strengthen our identity as Filipino but when planned accurately and implemented on a national level it will inculcate a strong sense of nationhood and deep respect for cultural diversity,” Oscar Casaysay, Executive Director of the National Commission for Culture and Arts, said.

In Southeast Asia, the Philippines is the only country to have instituted a national policy requiring MTB-MLE in primary schooling.

“In our efforts to push literacy, we feel more challenged to review and reshape the curriculum anchored on learner-centered principles, including culture-based education that highlights mother tongue-based and multilingual teaching to promote humanity and inclusivity. This makes us uniquely global,” San Antonio said.