Aug. 4, 2009–Jason Chancoco of Naga City has just sent us a press release about their grand launching of Bicol literary work (see “Bicol Literary Launch” above). We met Jason (a local writer in his early 20s) during our MLE forum in Naga City last summer. His youthful passion to write in his mother tongue was quite touching. He mentioned about some things they do in their Bicolano writers group and we discussed about the need to come out with children literature to provide some reading materials for MLE. I never imagined that in just a few months they would launch a number of titles, including a children story book in Bicol language. It seems that our MLE advocacy is now being fueled by at least 3 groups – educators, linguists and local writers. I also heard that Dr. Ofelia Tuy has initiated a project of writing big books using the mother tongue. We hope to see a display of all of these materials in another MLE event in Bicol next month.
Congratulations to Jason and his fellow writers in Bicol! May your work and example inspire your fellow Bicolanos to love the Bicol languages and use them to put words to their innermost thoughts and emotions. (Check press release posted above.)
July 17, 2009–Thanks to Dads for informing us about the good news. The new MLE DepEd Order outlining all our aspirations for learner and culture-centered MLE is now signed and posted at the DepEd website last July 14. This is a reason for celebration!!! Thanks to our brave friends in DepEd who pushed hard for this historic policy. May we work together to ensure the success of its implementation.
(DepEd Order #74 s. 2009 is published above and in its entirety at the DepEd website.)
July 9, 2009–Here’s a piece of good news. If you recall, Malaysia switched to English as MOI only to find to their dismay that their TIMMS ranking dropped from 9th place to somewhere around 20th. I’m looking forward to that day that we, too, would build enouch critical mass to assert the use of our mother tongue in teaching our young.
Anyway, here’s the news item:
Sean Yoong, The Associated Press, Kuala Lumpur | Wed, 07/08/2009 10:59 PM | World
Malaysia announced Wednesday it will abandon the use of English to teach math and science, bowing to protesters who demanded more use of the national Malay language.
Malay will be reinstated in state-funded schools starting in 2012 because teaching in English caused academic results in those subjects to slip, Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said.
The news comes after months of high-profile demonstrations by politicians and linguists, especially from the ethnic Malay majority, who say a six-year-old policy of using English undermines their struggle to modernize their mother tongue.
English was once the medium of instruction in most schools in Malaysia, a former British colony. Nationalist leaders switched to Malay less than two decades after independence in 1957.
In 2003, realizing that poor English skills hurt graduates competing for work against people from other countries, especially neighboring Singapore, ex-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad launched a program to resume teaching math and science in English. Most other subjects are taught in Malay.
Malay activists began to protest the policy after the government recently said it was reviewing the program’s success.
Students in rural districts, who are mainly Malay, suffered the most because their English proficiency was low, Muhyiddin said. He said authorities would try to improve students’ English-language skills by recruiting more teachers and offering more language classes.
Some in the large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities also oppose the use of English, insisting that math and science should be taught in their mother tongues, Mandarin and Tamil.
Muhyiddin said schools for ethnic minorities that teach most subjects in those two languages will also scrap the use of English for math and science starting in 2012.
July 7, 2009–It was a successful MLE symposium. Mel Awid and her team worked so hard to prepare the whole thing. Everything was great – venue, materials (they reproduced the MLE primer with glossy cover), speakers, mc, program, etc. Thanks to Dr. Giron and Nap for their help in inviting the DepEd peple. The Regional Director, Dist Supt and some supervisors came. The DepEd advisory for the event was issued just on time. Dr. Rose Villanza from the USec’s office came to share some encouraging and helpful ideas based on her MLE training in Thailand.
It was a good idea to have the DepEd regional office to not just respond but to share what MLE related initiatives they have had. Some bgy officials and village council leaders were there to share their thoughts. There was also a group from the academe. They inquired how MLE can be integrated in their Teacher Education curriculum. It’s heartwarming to see the gelling of the various groups for the planning of MLE for the Subanon groups.
July 4, 2009–We’re happy to announce that tomorrow (July 5, 2009) there will be an MLE symposium at Zamboanga City to be attended by DepEd people, LGU, university officials, and other local stakeholders. We thank the DepEd Central Office for providing the memo asking the regional office and its divisions to attend the event. The event will kick off the MLE implementation among the Subanon groups in the area. Hopefully, there will also be one for the Chavacanos. The other week, Save the Children sponsored a forum at Cotabato City and at UP Diliman. The forum at Cotabato was meant to prepare an MLE implementation in the area.
Last Friday, one of the master teachers we trained in Valenzuela City sent an SMS informing us that she was invited to a meeting at DepEd NCR regional office to plan for the implementation of MLE in the region specifically in the following pilot areas – QC, Mandaluyong, Caloocan City, Muntinlupa and Valenzuela City. Invited in the planning session were the participants of the MLE training program held at UP College of Education last summer (I suppose those trained in ChangMai were also there). Some teachers in Valenzuela City were asked to conduct teaching demonstration in their next meeting. The NCR regional office made a memo to implement a massive campaign for MLE.
Calabarzon area is also on the move, identifying MLE communities in the Rizal Division. Dr. Reli Agcaoili of Nakem Conferences has been meeting MLE advocates in the North the past weeks. Let’s hope, pray, and do what we can so that all these initiatives will be like fireseeds that will spread all over.