/ 21 October 2022

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian was alarmed that only 10 percent of the country’s schools is ready to effectively implement the Mother-Tongue Based Multilingual Education.

“Our schools are not ready and our teachers are also not ready because based on DepEd’s information, only 23 percent have been trained and that’s not a good sign also in terms of making sure that the mother tongue is successfully implemented on the ground,” Gatchalian said.

While the Department of Education is yet to conduct its own impact study on MTB-MLE, a 2019 survey by state think tank Philippine Institute for Development Studies revealed that only 9 percent out of 16,287 schools surveyed conducted four activities needed to successfully implement MTB-MLE.

These activities are the writing of big books on language, literature, and culture; documentation of the orthography of the language; documentation of grammar; and documentation of a dictionary of the language.

The same study also identified schools’ reasons for not implementing the MTB-MLE, which included teachers’ lack of relevant teaching materials, schools’ lack of dictionary of the language, students’ lack of textbooks, and teachers’ lack of expertise in the school’s medium of instruction.

Out of the 305,099 educators the Education department targeted to train, only 72,872 underwent training, including supervisors, school heads and teachers from kindergarten to Grade 3.

Gatchalian urged the DepEd to conduct its impact study on the implementation of the MTB-MLE.

Under the K to 12 law, education, instruction, teaching materials and assessment from kindergarten up to Grade 3 shall be in the regional or native language of the learners.

The DepEd is mandated to formulate a mother language transition program from Grade 4 to Grade 6 so that Filipino and English shall be gradually introduced as languages of instruction until such time that these two languages can become the primary languages of instruction at the secondary level.