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 Zeny Baldonado Padre

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 Two Bills Seek Use of Mother Tongue as MOI in Grade School
6/17/2008 11:09:22 PM

There are currently two bills pending consideration in the Philippine Congress, and they, in varying degrees seek the use of the child's mother tongue as the medium of instruction (MOI)--one bill for the first three years of grade school, and the other for the entire 6 years of grade school.

Authored by Rep. Magtanggol T. Gunigundo of Valenzuela, House Bill 3719 entitled “An Act Establishing a Multi-Lingual Education and Literacy Program” provides for the use of the child's mother tongue as the medium of instruction from Grade 1 through Grade 6, as well as the teaching of Filipino and English as separate subjects.

Senate Bill No. 2294, otherwise known as the Omnibus Education Reform bill, introduced by Sen. Mar Roxas proposes "to strengthen the Philippine education system through timely interventions on the quality of teachers, the medium of instruction used and the evaluation of students' aptitude, among other aspects."

The proposed reforms in Senate Bill 2294 include:

1. Institutionalizing long-term planning through rolling five-year budget plans that are consistent with quantitative and qualitative targets;

2. Mandating the use of the mother tongue as medium of instruction for Grades 1 to 3, as studies have shown that early education in the local language tends to be more effective;

3. A genuine School-Feeding Program for Grade 1 and 2 students in the poorest provinces and municipalities;

4. Imposition of performance standards through diagnostic tests at the end of Grades 3 and 6 to identify individuals who will require special learning assistance as they proceed to the next grade level;

5. Mandating the increase in the number of years in basic education, from 10 years to 12 years as consistent with global standards;

6. Electives for High School students, to equip them with the competencies needed as they decide to pursue College or to join the workforce after graduation;

7. Intensive training and upgrading programs for teachers: a training program on teaching methods using the mother language for teachers in Grades 1 to 3; and upgrading courses for English, Science and Math teachers who are not majors in these subjects; and

8. A compulsory pre-school education year.

The Roxas bill, in other words, would mandate something akin to the K-12 basic education system in a majority of countries around the world, including the United States. Of course, the notable difference between the Gunigundo bill and the Roxas bill as far as the use of the student's mother tongue as MOI is concerned, is that the Roxas bill requires its use only in the first three years of grade school.

From a personal point of view, the Gunigundo bill's mandating the use of the mother tongue as MOI during the entire 6 years of grade school seems the more reasonable way to leave a more lasting impression of the student's native tongue to facilitate the transition into Filipino and English.

It is hoped that the desirable provisions of both bills would be reconciled to forge a more formidable and effective Omnibus Education Reform Act.

Comment(s): 24  | Lastupdate: 9/30/2009 3:54:42 PM

 Creative Writing and Freedom of the Press
1/16/2008 1:21:56 PM

In Tawid News Magasin, Vol. VII No. 43, December 24-30, 2007, Dr. Aurelio Solver Agcaoili, professor at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, wrote a piece entitled "When Poets Become Fascists, or Why Ilokano Creative Writing Needs Redeeming" followed by "When the Craft of Creative Writing Is No Longer Creative Because It Is Corrupt and Corrupting" in the corrected version that came out on January 9, 2008.

Basically, the two pieces are a rant against creative writers, more specifically those masquerading as Ilocano poets whom he claims have become fascists/monsters WITHOUT citing any specific examples.

"As I write this piece," says Agcaoili in the first article, "there is this pang of rage in my heart." For me, that's a cue to not take Dr. Agcaoili seriously for as he seethes with anger, he could not even point a single finger to what he is raving at. As in the heat of passion, things could be said and done that, under more sober circumstances, could have been avoided. If one doesn't have the conviction to call a spade a spade, how can you take him seriously?

"Ilokano writing as an incestuous, anomalous, compadrazgo relationship continues," complains Agcaoili. And he rues: "Where has that decent and dignified--decent because dignified--Ilokano writing gone?" Reminds one of that oft-repeated refrain in Diff'rent Strokes: "Whatchoo talking about, Willis?"

In the second article, Agcaoili puts a new spin on the goals of creative writing: "...we resist the lies and ruses of this present world... we write... to insist that we have the right to live in dignity and self-respect... we write... to become agents of change--to change following the fundamental principles of justice and fairness." What happened to the fundamental definition of "creative"?

Even as Ralph Gregory Elliot, former president of the Connecticut Bar Association, identifies certain limits to freedom of the press in "Limits of Freedom of the Press" [], this freedom is well enshrined in the Bill of Rights--Article III, Section 4--of the 1987 Philippine Constitution: "No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press..."

Just as we recognize Dr. Agcaoili's right to rant against Ilocano creative writers and the Iloco creative writing craft itself as part of his freedom of the press, we would like to remind him of his responsibility to exercise restraint by avoiding irresponsible accusations sans specifics, concrete proofs, and that pang of rage in his heart.

Comment(s): 6  | Lastupdate: 4/8/2008 9:19:09 AM

12/18/2007 8:24:09 AM

Naragsac A Pascua
Tay Amin!

Comment(s): 6  | Lastupdate: 1/27/2008 12:14:53 PM

 Love & Marriage
9/17/2007 2:29:48 AM

For a dear friend of mine, mom for two and a very young gramma for five beautiful kids, who found love once again and is getting married sometime before she turns 60: just about validates Cicero's claim that life begins at... Heidi, amor mio, you go girl!

Comment(s): 4  | Lastupdate: 11/20/2007 3:53:59 PM

 They Keep Coming—17 and Counting--and Look Ma, No Stork…
8/7/2007 9:41:01 AM

Here’s a recent post from the Discovery Website []:

Welcome Jennifer Danielle Duggar!

The super-sized Duggar family of Springdale, Arkansas, just got a little bigger with the birth of baby number 17 on August 2, 2007. Jennifer Danielle was born at 10:01 AM (CT), weighing in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces and measuring 21 inches in length.

Parents Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar happily welcome Jennifer Danielle to their amazing brood of 10 boys and six girls: Joshua, 19; Jana and John David, 17; Jill, 16; Jessa, 14; Jinger, 13; Joseph, 12; Josiah, 10; Joy-Anna, 9; Jeremiah and Jedidiah, 8; Jason, 7; James, 6; Justin, 4; Jackson, 3; and Johanna, 21 months.

"We are so grateful to God," said Michelle Duggar. "Jennifer is so precious and beautiful and such a sweet gift."

When asked about the possibility of more children, Jim Bob said, "We would certainly be open to having more children. The girls want to catch up with the boys now."

Jim Bob Duggar is a former Arkansas state legislator. Deeply religious, both parents are real estate agents and they own commercial properties. The family is reportedly debt-free. The children are home-schooled. In spite of the fact that the family is by necessity a bit structured, the children look normal and, well, happy and they seem to be having a good time.

A grade school classmate of Michelle Duggar has this to say:

"They really are fascinating and interesting people. Anyone could learn something - from their money management (no debt) to their organization skills which are just unbelievable. They buy all their clothes at thrift stores, shop at Aldi's and buy everything else at auctions. "Buy used and save the difference" is Michelle's motto. They have a complete commercial kitchen that would have cost over $100,000 and they paid only $11,000 for everything by buying it at auctions.

They eat and cook at home mostly, but they do know what area resturants have family specials and go there on those nights. A friend of mine took his family to Taco Tico one Sunday for 39¢ taco day, but left after seeing Jim Bob come in and order nearly 100 tacos!"

Considering that Michelle Duggar had given birth to two sets of twins and that she also had had two births by C-section (the last one was a VBAC, or vaginal birth after caesarian), she had gone through the following normal who-needs-the-baby-stork birth episode quite a few times:

I strongly suggest reading about the Duggar Family first before making any comment.

Comment(s): 4  | Lastupdate: 5/9/2008 10:43:10 AM