Open Letter on MLE

Letter from  Josefina L. Matibag (see comment) on June 15, 2010 at 8:16 PM:

I am the point person of MLE Implementation in our Division. After I attended my very first MLE exposure at Cagayan de Oro, I proposed to start implementing the program in our division with my superintendent’s approval in two pilot school implementers. We are about to conduct a workshop on IM’s production. But I do not have any input from our department; I only got readings from the internet. Could you please suggest some sources? What about the assessment material, will all of these be in the vernacular? I will be very grateful for any comment and suggestion from your end.

Dear Ms. Matibag:

First of all, let me congratulate you for being one of those genuinely concerned about the rights of people like me who, on my first day in Grade I years ago made the decision I didn’t want to go back to school because the teacher was talking to me and my classmates in a strange language I just didn’t understand. Believe me, I used practically all the reasons a young kid could muster to remain a truant. Only after an older brother patiently tutored me in basic reading and writing at home following that horrible, almost traumatic first-day-in-school experience did I summon the courage to go back and face the music.

Unless DepEd has something to recycle from its archives on the Regional Lingua Franca (RLF) Pilot Project which was launched under the leadership of the late Education Secretary Andrew B. Gonzales in 1999 (read Nolasco’s THE PROSPECTS OF MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION AND LITERACY IN THE PHILIPPINES)–remember that one where the RLF Pilot Project was launched in five (5) schools which employed Cebuano as MOI, four (4) which used Ilocano and seven (7), Tagalog in grades one and two, after which the children were mainstreamed into the regular bilingual program–if DepEd does not have any archived materials from the experiment, then I’m afraid you may have to start from scratch as well.

If you let me know what particular language (Cebuano, Ilocano, etc.) you’d be implementing MLE courses, I might be in a better position to help you. (For Cebuano, Dr. Jessie Grace Rubrico maintains a website,, which I think could be very useful. You’ll find her contact info, some language lessons and a primer there.). If you’re developing some course materials which are arithmetic related, I refer you to the Khan Academy, particularly that Arithmetic Section for YouTube video links. If you read my post, MLE Courses on YouTube, Salman Khan has a standing invitation for those interested to translate his videos into other languages.

I would also suggest you get in touch with Ched Arzadon (, an MLE advocate who just returned from an international MLE workshop in the UK.

As for the assessment issue, I refer you to an article, NEETS And The Multi-Dimensional Aspect Of Educational Assessment, by former Education Deputy Minister Abraham Felipe which I posted in my blog in September 2009.

As to what language you have to use in preparing your assessment report, I believe that is independent of the MLE program.

Joe Padre

10 thoughts on “Open Letter on MLE

  1. I am Jo of Masin City Division , Maasin City, Southern Leyte, Region VIII, Philippines. I need your opinion with regards to what I am planning to do this school year. I had only attended one convention on MLE , I have had no training on this matter. None of our teachers have attended a training on MLE because we are not an implementing division this year. However, our regional coordinator encouraged us to start the implementation. Am I in a position to implement the MLE program this year considering the above-mentioned scenario?

  2. Dear Jo,

    The operative words here are that this year your regional coordinator encouraged you to start MLE implementation. Even as your division is not yet an implementing division, if you do start MLE implementation now with your regional coordinator’s blessing, you’d definitely be ahead of the game, and most likely a leader in your division with whatever experience you will have had.

    At any rate, I still recommend you get more info from the people listed below as I know they have their fingers on the pulse of the MLE program over there in the Philippines:

    * Ched Arzadon (
    * Ricardo Nolasco (
    * Diane E. Dekker ( — authority on the Lubuagan Project
    * Jessie Grace Rubrico (, — author of Magbinisaya Kita Primer 1 (Cebuano)

    It doesn’t hurt to review the enclosure to DepEd #74 s. 2009 as it contains some MLE implementing guidelines, specifically “MLE BRIDGING PLAN A” for your region.

    As I earlier suggested, you can model some of your instructional materials from the educational YouTube video tutorials found in Khan Academy in my Multilingual Education–Philippines blog. The tutorials under the Arithmetic category are very basic and may be translated into the local language according to the author, Salman Khan. In fact, I invite you to click on each of the topic links listed under Arithmetic to see how these can help you in the way you teach. Of course, some other links in the Khan Academy library may also prove very useful to you and your students.

    As for the folk literature which you may need, I suggest you look into the Philippine Folk Literature Series compiled by Damiana L. Eugenio or such other Philippine folk literature books.

    Good luck!

  3. Sir,
    Just last month I learned about the term MLE(Mother tongue-based multilingual education). It’s quite interesting. I’m about to write my thesis and is considering MLE as my study. The persons and sites you gave to Ms Matibag could surely help.
    But it would be much better if I can attend a seminar about the subject.

    Any notification would be much appreciated.

  4. I am not aware of any recent announcement for an MLE seminar/training at this time. Kindly check back here or the Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education website [].

    My impression is DepEd is implementing DepEd 74 s. 2009 [MLE policy] in selected regions. Those selected get first crack at MLE training. You may get in touch with DepEd if it’s possible for you to audit an MLE training to help you fulfill your desire to write your thesis in the MLE area.

  5. I am an undergrad student of Southern Leyte State University. May I know what pilot schools have been implementing MLE? With regards to Ms. Josefina Matibag’s letter, I appreciate her concern for MLE implementation, thus, may i know your school ma’am? Aside from Lubuagan ES in Northern Philippines, we (group researchers) have region 8 schools implementing MLE not less than 3 years before this year.

  6. I really appreciate with the step of our education department to the implementation of mtb-mle program. Of course this is a paradigm shift in making our children be able to communicate globally with rich understanding using our own mother tongue.There are really opposite principles and perceptions from our co-pinoys to this program but in the long run they will try to understand its importance in educating our children.
    MTB-MLE will bridge the huge gap between local and english language.It’s learning english through our mother tongue.

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