Speak-out: English or Filipino?

When Juan dela Cruz began searching for his identity as brown-blooded Filipino, he found it from the nationalist Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel Luis Quezon by initiating the move for the country to have its own national language that is “Filipino.”

Even our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, quoted in his famous poem “Sa Aking Mga Kababata,” his love of the Filipinos’ native tongue. But what is very ironic is that the emergence of English language which rattled the Filipinos, mostly those in the education sector on which medium of instruction should be used in teaching – English or Filipino?

A couple of years ago, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Jesli Lapus was alarmed by the national self-achievement test results where Grade 6 and senior high school students got very low scores in English. Scores revealed that only 50 percent of the lessons are being absorbed by the students. DepEd then intensified its program by giving much emphasis on the teaching of English as well as programs in reading, early child education, and teacher training.

Even President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the restoration of English as a medium of instruction from Grade 3 through high school. The order remained in futility since it ran into opposition from nationalists who dared the legality of Arroyo’s order.

An English scholar says, “The best English speakers and writers in this country learn English well not in school but from those references.” His statement is credible, more so if the teachers handling English subjects are not well versed in English and from the fact that the latest available materials for the subject cannot be found in most public elementary and secondary schools.

Subjects nowadays are of distinction as to medium of instruction to be utilized. In high school, in English, Math, Science, Mapeh, Technology and Livelihood Education, Values Education, and in Filipino, and Araling Panlipunan, English and Filipino are used, respectively. In elementary, English medium of instruction is used in English, Science, and Math subjects while Filipino is used in Hekasi, MSEP, Wastong Pag-uugali, and Filipino subjects.

The big question is, what if all subjects (except Filipino) will be taught in English? There is no assurance that students could grasp the ideas the teacher is trying to impart. In fact, even in Filipino subjects Filipino students find it hard comprehending the lessons.

What the government should probably do is to inject into the educational system the right attitude and values in the government service; allocate more funds to schools, mostly those in the far-flung areas, upgrade school facilities and equipment, increase the number of teachers where, in many cases, teachers are handling non-major subjects; more trainings for teachers; and most of all, enforce the “Zero Corruption” system.

What to use as a medium of instruction in teaching is actually not the issue. The long wait is not yet over.

Mrs. Lizette M. Aniciete,
Wenceslao Elementary School
Lubao, Pampanga

Find more like this: Education


  1. arief says:

    Yes, I think english is important … help me to improve my english

  2. Tom says:

    I think you should also try to study – sentence construction. peace.

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