The Problem of Language in the Philippines
In Aquino's blueprint, which is now DepEd's K to 12 curriculum, a child born in a region other than the Tagalog-speaking municipalities or cities is taught first in his or her native tongue while introducing both English and Filipino. Later, all students are taught math and the natural sciences in English, while other subjects such as Social Studies are taught in Filipino. Broward county in Florida knows how difficult a dual language program is, and yet in the Philippines, all students outside the Tagalog-speaking regions are expected to become trilingual. Dual-language programs are challenging and students in the Philippines are no exception. A recent study shows that even in the Tagalog region, students are failing to acquire mastery of a second language and as a result, students are unable to learn science.
Maribel D. Ganeb and Marie Paz E. Morales, both from Philippine Normal University, note in their paper, Science fluency in primary school: Student transition from Filipino to English language learning that "third graders registered low ratings in all the three components of reading fluency. They are categorised as instructional readers of common terms, but are frustrated readers of science terms. They have very low reading speed and based on their reading prosody, more than half of these learners are labelled as non-fluent readers." The students included in this study are from a public elementary school in Manila. Obviously, if reading comprehension is hampered, students will be significantly challenged in learning science.
It is always a lot easier to make promises. It is much harder to bring these to reality especially when one does not take proper account of the challenges.
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