Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte on Thursday sought a congressional review of the heavy use of Filipino as a medium of instruction in schools, saying that the practice has stymied the chances of graduates in getting jobs.
Villafuerte sought the review in response to the first State of the Nation Address of President Marcos where he asked for enhanced instruction in the English language to improve the chances of graduates in the job market.
Villafuerte said “a serious rethinking of our means of communication for learning is a must after President Marcos himself had stressed in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) that English is the language of the Internet, which has become the global marketplace, and that foreign employers have always favored Filipino workers because of our command of the English language.”
“A ‘review’ of what medium of instruction should be used in our schools, as what the President mentioned in his July 25 SONA, should be one of the focal concerns of the would-be second Congressional Commission Education (Edcom II), in line with its mandate under the law that created it to come up with educational reforms to, among others, address the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is distinguished by the digital revolution or brisk development of information technology (IT),” Villafuerte said.
Villafuerte was referring to the Edcom II, which the new law—Republic Act (RA) 11899—has tasked to make another comprehensive national assessment and evaluation of the performance of the education sector, by reviewing the mandates of the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority(TESDA).
Edcom shall be a 10-member commission comprising five senators and five members of the House of Representatives.
Stressing in his SONA the need to equip our students with the materials necessary for effective teaching, President Marcos said: “Foreign employers have always favored Filipino employees because of our command of the English language. This is an advantage that we must continue to enjoy.”
The President pointed out that “the internet has now become the global marketplace. Not only for goods services but also for ideas, even extending to our own personal interactions.”
“The language of the internet—for better or for worse—is English,” added President Marcos. “Therefore, the question of our medium of instruction must be continuously re-examined to maintain that advantage that we have established as an English-speaking people.”
Edcom II has been directed under RA 11899 to “institutionalize educational reforms necessary to meet the new challenges to education, such as the implementation of alternative learning and delivery modes for basic education, higher education and post-secondary technical-vocational education and training as part of the adjustments and responses to the global pandemic, and the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution characterized, among others, by digital revolution or the rapid development of information technology such as artificial intelligence, automation, data analytics, blockchain data sharing, quantum computing, and internet of things analytics.”
Edcom II is the successor to the first Edcom (Joint Congressional Commission to Study and Review Philippine Education) that was formed in 1991 to undertake a year-long study on the then-deteriorating state of the local school system.
The first Edcom had traced the declining quality of Philippine schools to, the poorly-managed educational system, inadequate investments in teaching materials and learning resources, crowded curriculum, and inadequate teachers’ salaries and benefits, among others.
Among Edcom I’s recommendations were the laws that created the CHED (RA 7722) and TESDA (RA 7796); increase in study time for critical subjects like English, Science and Mathematics; increase in number of school days; and clear career service paths for teachers and school administrators and improvement in their benefits.