The Department of Education (DepEd), through the Office of the Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction (OUCI), held the National Forum on the Language of Teaching and Learning in the Philippines on February 22, 2021 from 8:00 am to 12:00pm via Zoom Teleconference.
The National Language Forum aims to provide a space for various personas, organizations, institutions, and stakeholders in the Philippine educational community to engage each other in a series of discussions regarding the issues on the implementation of the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education Program in the country. Through the annual collaboration of local and international research presentations, issues on MTB-MLE relative to teaching and learning are addressed, which is geared towards initial consolidation of recommendations in order to establish a platform of continuing dialogue for the benefit of the education sector in the Philippines.
The program formally commenced after the welcoming remarks of Usec. Diosdado M. San Antonio, along with the Secretary of the Department of Education, Prof. Leonor Magtolis-Briones for the inspirational message.
The substance of the program was divided into three (3) portions. The first portion was on the presentation of Local and International Language Studies. Various researchers were given 10 minutes to present their research and an additional 5 minutes for the questions and answer portion. Some of the highlights of the research presentations are the rationale of the MTB-MLE, the Multi-phased study of ACTRC, Process Evaluation on MTB-MLE, and the EGRA Experience.
The second portion was on the presentation of position statements relative to Multilingual Education. Various resource persons were invited to share the status of their programs/projects relative to language learning and how they can collaborate to further improve the language and literacy in the Philippines. Some of the position statements tackled were on various literature studies and RRL on MTB-MLE, policies relative to language issues, status of the situations of teachers and students, various statistics of the overall performance of students, recommendations for language learning, other studies on the importance of MTB-MLE, among others.
The third portion of the program focused on the open forum, which focused on a central question: the challenges and factors revolving around the implementation of the MTB-MLE in the Philippines as a multilingual nation.
Some of the highlights during the open forum involve a comparison of qualitative and quantitative research studies, citations, and statistics relative to the challenges of the implementation of Multilingual Education. Based on the presented research data, it was also reiterated that national education agencies such as the DepEd and CHED should collaborate to continue addressing the issues on the contextualization of multilingual education. Suggestions on how to efficiently develop materials and train teachers relative to the flexibility of languages and implementation of MTB-MLE were also discussed.
The National Language Forum concluded with the closing program after the presentation of the synthesis, ways forward including key areas for further research, and the closing remarks.
The participation of the LCC Secretariat in this Forum would allow the Literacy Coordinating Council to gather valuable insights from various personas, organizations, institutions, and stakeholders, not only in the Philippine educational community, but also the international education sectors, which can be used in developing policy recommendations to address the literacy needs of all types of learners, as well as the challenges of the implementation of MTB-MLE, which is a global education issue, especially in the Philippines.
Terence Joshua Canlas