DepEd proposes to remove mother tongue subject from K-12

The Department of Education (DepEd) has proposed to remove the mother tongue language as a subject in a bid to decongest the K-12 curriculum.

According to the draft of the revised basic education curriculum released by DepEd last week, English will be taught as early as the first quarter for Grade 1 students, earlier than the current third quarter.

“Anchored on the language framework of the K-12 curriculum, the enhanced English curriculum reflects the dynamic nature of the language and to distinguish Philippine English from the English of, not one of and not for, the native speakers,” the DepEd’s draft-shaping paper for the revised English curriculum read.

“Philippine English is a variety of English used in various discourse forms (oral, written, visual, digital) influenced by the country’s unique historical, multicultural and diverse linguistic backgrounds and used widely in literary, academic, journalistic and business correspondence,” it added.

The draft stated that mother tongue will no longer be offered as a separate subject in Grades 1 to 3 and instead will be used to teach other subjects, primarily English and Filipino.

“The Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) is a salient part of the implementation of the K-12 Basic Education Program,” the DepEd’s draft general-shaping paper for the revised curriculum read.

“It underscores the importance of learning using the language and literacy resource that the child knows best and can use most effectively in order to establish a strong foundation for further education and literacy development,” it added.

Under the K-12 program, the mother tongue subject focuses on the development of students’ speaking, reading and writing skills with their first or local language.

There are 19 local languages being used in schools across the country, based on data from DepEd.