The Department of Education on Tuesday clarified the removal of Mother Tongue as a subject is not yet final after one of its officials announced the 50-minute subject will no longer be implemented in a bid to decongest the curriculum.
“The removal of the Mother Tongue as a subject is not yet final,” DepEd spokesman Michael Poa said, noting that the review of the curriculum for the Kinder to Grade 10 (K-10) program has yet to be finalized.
Poa issued the clarification after Education Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said Monday there was already a consensus on the removal of the subject for Grades 1 to 3.
“We will continue using the mother tongue as a medium of instruction for students in Kindergarten to Grade 3. But we also agreed on something that can help decongest the curriculum… We all agreed in the curriculum and instruction division to do away with the 50 minutes of mother tongue as a subject,” Densing said.
Poa, however, said DepEd is still consulting with stakeholders, the academe, and other government agencies over the curriculum review.
“Our review is not yet over. Once we have the final curriculum, that’s when we will release an announcement about what will happen to the programs, not only Mother Tongue, but also in our learning competencies,” Poa said.
Under the K-12 program, the Mother Tongue subject focuses on the development of students’ speaking, reading and writing skills with their first or local language. There are 19 local languages being used in schools across the country.
On Monday, DepEd also announced that the mandatory daily face-to-face classes in all public schools will push through as scheduled on November 2, while private schools may continue with blended learning.
Under the blended learning scheme, private schools can have three days of in-person classes and 2 days of distance learning, and eventually 4 days of in-person classes and one day of distance learning.
“DepEd is cognizant of the current situation of the private sector due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic—the amount of investment in online learning technologies, the development and institutionalization of best practices on blended learning, and the unfortunate closure of small private schools because of losses,” it said.
The Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines thanked DepEd for “giving primary consideration to students’ and parents’ choice of platforms.”
“This also gives the flexibility needed to strengthen innovation in basic [education] schools and maximize the benefits of hybrid learning modalities, even as we also integrate in-person classes in schools,” the group said.
The Federation of Associations of Private School Administrators (FAPSA) said private schools would have suffered “more problems” if forced to implement full face-to-face classes next month.
“Even our own parents do not want to send their kids to school daily since the outbreak or COVID-19 is very much around,” FAPSA President Eleazardo Kasilag said.