AIMED at improving the language and cognitive development of pupils, the Department of Education (DepEd) added seven more languages from the current 12 major local languages as medium of instruction from Kinder up to Grade 3 under the Mother-Tongue-Based Multi-Lingual Education (MTB-MLE).
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said use of the same language spoken at home, in the early grades, helps improve the pupils’ language and cognitive development in addition to strengthening their socio-cultural awareness.
He said that primary education using the mother tongue helps the process of learning by introducing concepts to students in the language they are most used to.
Luistro added that, the mother tongue-based education also helps indigenous people use their own languages as a medium of instruction.
The additional languages are Ybanag for pupils in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan and Isabela; Ivatan for the Batanes Group; Sambal in Zambales; Aklanon in Aklan, Capiz; Kinaray-a in Capiz, Aklan; Yakan in Autonomous Region Muslim Mindanao and Surigaonon covering Surigao City and provinces.
Local and internationals studies have shown that using the mother tongue inside the classroom during the learners’ early years of schooling produce better and faster learners who can easily adapt to learn a second (Filipino) and third language (English).
The other 12 local languages used in MTB-MLE are Tagalog, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Iloko, Bikol, Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Waray, Tausug, Maguindanaoan, Maranao and Chabacano.
The MTB-MLE is implemented in two modules: 1) as a learning/subject area and 2) as medium of instruction.
The mother tongue as a subject focuses on the development of reading and speaking from Grades 1 to 3. As a medium of instruction the mother tongue is used in all learning areas from Kinder to Grade 3 except in the teaching of Filipino and English subjects.
Filipino is introduced in the first semester of Grade 1 for oral fluency (speaking). For reading and writing purposes, it will be taught beginning in the second semester of Grade 1. The four other macro skills, which are listening, speaking, reading and writing in Filipino will continuously be developed from Grades 2 to 6.
Earlier, the DepEd and the Summer Institute of Linguistics forged an agreement to help preserve indigenous Philippine languages in danger of extinction.
According to Luistro, of the over 170 languages we have, several are considered endangered.