Bill suspending use of mother tongue in K-3 gets House nod

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

February 2, 2023, 9:34 am

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The proposal to suspend the use of mother tongue as the medium of instruction for Kindergarten to Grade 3 is gaining traction in the House of Representatives after it was approved on second reading on Wednesday.

The chamber approved via voice vote House Bill 6717, which aims to address the patent lack of learning materials on the mother tongue language in schools and ensure the adherence to the constitutional mandate of providing quality education that is accessible to all learners in basic education.

In sponsoring the bill, House Committee on Basic Education and Culture chair Roman Romulo pointed out that there has not been a complete set of learning materials or textbooks in the "major Philippine dialects".

"We all know as a fact that in order for us to provide quality education, it is imperative that our teachers, our learners, be provided with books and learning materials. Absence of any of these it seems that it becomes impossible to provide quality education," Romulo said.

He stressed that the bill merely proposes to suspend the implementation of the mother tongue or first language as the medium of instruction from kindergarten to Grade 3, until such time as the Department of Education (DepEd) is able to certify to Congress that it has completed its books, teaching materials, and supplies to effectively implement the use of mother tongue or first language to learners.

The bill provides that the use of the mother tongue in schools where it is assessed to be effective shall continue.

It mandates the DepEd to coordinate with the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino in developing books, teaching materials, and other supplies necessary for the implementation of the use of the mother tongue language.

It also directs the DepEd and the KWF to assess the appropriateness and capacity of all local school districts to use mother tongue or first language as a method of instruction for learners in kindergarten to Grade 3, as well as the appropriateness and availability of the necessary books and materials.

The proposed law shall be automatically repealed upon the approval of Congress of the assessment report and the certification of the readiness of all the school districts to implement the use of mother tongue as the medium of instruction for kindergarten to Grade 3. (PNA)