The Stupidity of “English Only” Policy in the Philippines

69496156_735082863597303_2734883613286858752_n.jpgYou see it everywhere. Big public posts reminding everyone to “please transact your business in English” or that we should “Speak English, the language of leaders.” One private school in a Central Luzon province also brags of having “English-speaking kids.” Hence, it is always timely to take a closer look at this weird and generally stupid “English only” policy in the Philippines.

If the issue is purely legal and constitutional, it can right away be said that this policy is illegal and unconstitutional. Even the K to 12 Law (Republic Act 10533) reiterates that from Grade 4 onwards, Filipino and English are the languages of instruction, a provision mandated by the 1987 Constitution.

With regard to practicality, nearly consistently dismal English language results from the Department of Education’s National Achievement Test (NAT) point out to a very obvious policy defect: English CAN’T be used as a medium of instruction.

Does that mean that we have to scrap English subjects? No, no, no!

The Scandinavians can be our role model for language learning. Norwegians, Swedes, Danes etc. typically speak good if not excellent English. This is despite their education system’s treatment of English as a mere subject to be taught and learned, rather than as a medium of instruction too. Their cases prove that we can learn good English (through English subjects which we have been learning since 1906) WHILE not using English as a medium of instruction.

For exclusive private schools where majority of students come from definitely rich, if not very rich, families, English only policy seems to be logical. After all, English is the language spoken in less than 0.1% of households in the Philippines (these are certainly the wealthiest households in posh enclaves in Metro Manila and few other urban centers). But then again, imposing English only policy to these exclusive-school kids will only prevent them from gaining more Filipino language skills good enough for them to mingle and converse with kids from non-elite backgrounds. That schools will aim for such exclusivity and elitist monolingualism while at the same time spouting missions and visions that nurture “concern for the common good,” “service to the Filipino nation,” “compassion for one’s fellow citizens,” “being one with the marginalized sectors” and so on, is somehow the height of hypocrisy. Exclusive schools should realize that their community extension/engagement/service endeavors will be at the very least superficial and at the very most useless, if their students are not encouraged to use the language/s of the common folks.

Finally, for all schools, state colleges and universities included, imposing English as the only language of education will only be self-defeating. Such policy will only perpetuate the following ugly realities: 1) we lag far behind our Southeast Asian and Asia-Pacific neighbors on knowledge production (publications, translations etc.) because most of our researchers know and use only one language for research; 2) many of our experts, scientists, technicians, engineers etc. are not equipped with local language skills that will help them orient their researches towards local needs; 3) popular dissemination of technical research and/or mass production of inventions are generally slow because the researchers and professionals generally don’t use the language of rank-and-file workers; 4) Few of our students and teachers have interest in nurturing skills in learning other equally important non-English languages (such as Spanish, Mandarin, and Nihonggo) because of schools’ promotion of English monolingualism.

Hence, Cavite State University-Cavite City Campus and other Philippine schools that insist on imposing various shades of “English only” policy should rethink and hopefully scrap their stupid policy, in favor of a language policy that will bridge the lingusitic gap between the elite and the masses, between the top-level professionals and the rank-and-file workers.

P.S. This post was inspired by a photo which was posted yesterday by Cavite State Universitiy’s student government. As yesterday is the last day of the yeary “Buwan ng Wika,” their post might be construed as a satirical piece written to stimulate discussions, but it can be also a cruel joke and a miseducated policy which should be rightfully criticized in the public interest. For purposes of discussion, here’s the full text of the said draconian “English Only Policy”:

“RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ENGLISH ONLY POLICY (EOP)

Article 1. Title – These rules shall be known and cited as the Rules and Regulations Implementing the English Only Policy (EOP)

Article 2. Purpose – These rules are promulgated to prescribe the procedures and guidelines of the English Only Policy (EOP) that will surely help the students keep their brain active and challenged.

Article 3. Declaration of Policy – (a) It is hereby declared the policy of the campus that the mission and vision of the university will be attained by helping the students to communicate effectively, think ahead, organize one’s thoughts and develop speaking skills to achieve accuracy and fluency that will surely result to global competitiveness.
(b) It is also the policy of the campus to ensure the accountability of the CSG and OSAS with regards to its effective implementation that would start on Monday, September 2, 2019.
(c) It is likewise the policy of the campus to require CSG officers to confiscate student’s identification cards whenever they caught the student violating the policy. With regards to that, confiscated identification cards must be turned over immediately at the CSG office for the case to be recorded. If ever the student violated the rule for the 3rd time, the CSG officers must report the case to the OSAS promptly. Confiscated ID must be claimed within that day and if ever the student failed to do its appropriate sanction, the confiscated ID must be turn over to OSAS instantaneously.
(d) OSAS and every CSG officer shall exercise the powers expressly granted for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of individual development. Within their respective responsibilities, OSAS and CSG officers shall ensure and support the policy without any bias or prejudice.

Article 4. Scope of Application – These rules shall apply to following:
(a) Main building of the campus including classrooms, faculty rooms, lobby and hallway (EXCEPT canteen, comfort rooms and campus covered court).
(b) All bonafide students of the university and the teaching and non-teaching staffs (EXCEPT Maintenance and Filipino subject teachers and their students during class discussion inside the classroom).

Article 5. Sanctions – These punishments and sanctions shall be given to the following:
(a) Any bonafide student who failed to follow the English Only Policy must be given appropriate sanctions:
• 1st offense- Confiscation of Student’s ID
Library work: Find 10 unfamiliar words, use it in a sentence and recite it to the CSG officer/adviser
Recite the vision and mission of CvSU
• 2nd offense- Confiscation of Student’s ID
Library work: Find 20 unfamiliar words, use it in a sentence and recite it to the CSG officer/adviser
Sing the CvSU Hymn
• 3rd offense- Confiscation of student’s ID
Library work: Find 30 unfamiliar words, use it in a sentence and recite it to the CSG officer/adviser
Recite the vision and mission of CvSU
Sing the CvSU Hymn
Perform an Impromptu speech at the CSG office

(b) Any member of the Central Student Government who failed to follow the policy and was caught speaking in Filipino must be punished:
• 1st offense- Confiscation of Student’s ID
Library work: Find 20 unfamiliar words, use it in a sentence and recite it to the CSG adviser
Recite the vision and mission of CvSU
2hrs community service
• 2nd offense- Confiscation of Student’s ID
Library work: Find 40 unfamiliar words, use it in a sentence and recite it to the CSG adviser
Sing the CvSU Hymn
3hrs community service
• 3rd offense- Confiscation of student’s ID
Library work: Find 50 unfamiliar words, use it in a sentence and recite it to the CSG adviser
Recite the vision and mission of CvSU
Sing the CvSU Hymn
Perform an Impromptu speech at the CSG office
5hrs community service

(c) Any teaching and non-teaching staffs who failed to follow this policy would be directly reported to the Administrator’soffice.

“Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.”
-Roger Bacon”

1 Comment

  1. Mabuti pa sa ibang bansa katulad ng:

    Hapon – Hapones
    Korea – Koreano
    Russia – Ruso
    Thailand – Thai
    Myanmar – Burmes
    Malaysia – Malay
    Poland – Polako
    Hungary – Hungarian
    Finland – Finnish
    Ukraine – Ukrainian
    Espanya – Espanyol
    Portugal – Portuges
    Italya – Italyano
    Republika ng Czech – Czech
    Georgia – Georgian
    Armenia – Armenian
    Ethiopia – Amharic
    Laos – Lao
    Cambodia – Khmer
    Vietnam – Vietnamese
    Israel – Hebreo
    Turkey – Turkish
    Albania – Albanian
    Macedonia – Macedonian
    Bulgaria – Bulgarian
    Romania – Romanian
    Alemanya – Aleman
    Netherlands – Olandes/Dutch
    Pransiya – Pranses
    Norway – Norwegian
    Denmark – Danish
    Sweden – Swedish
    Madagascar – Malagasy
    Gresya – Griyego
    … At iba pa …

    Ay ginagamit ang sari-sarili nilang wika bilang wikang pambansa, samantalang dito sa bansa natin, PINAPATAY nila ang wikang Filipino na siyang wikang pambansa sampon ng iba pang wikang nabubuhay pa sa Pilipinas! Mga walang-malasakit sa bayan! Mga asal-dayuhan!

    NAKAPANGGAGALAITI!

    Like

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