by Vinci Tamayo || Photo Credit: George Calvelo/ABS-CBN News
On October 18, 2022, a day after the Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III announced the desertion of Mother Tongue as a subject to ease the K-12 curriculum, DepEd Spokesman Michael Poa clarified during a public briefing that the plan was yet to be finalized.
On October 17, 2022, Densing III discussed the removal of the subject “Mother Tongue,” where pupils from Kindergarten to Grade 3 learn how to read, write, and speak in their local language. He stated that the subject would be used as a learning medium rather than having 50-minute class discussions dedicated to it.
According to Densing III, the Curriculum and Instruction Division approved of this, as it aims to declutter the curriculum. He also added that declaring the omission of Mother Tongue from the curriculum opens up more time that can be allotted to national reading and math programs.
The following day, however, DepEd Spokesman, Michael Poa, reported that the approval of this plan was not yet certain as DepEd is still in the process of putting it under rigorous review.
“Our review is not yet over. Once we have the final curriculum, that’s when we will release an announcement about what will happen to the programs, not only [in] Mother Tongue but also in our learning competencies,” Poa said during a recent Laging Handa briefing.
The plan also received backlash, with others asking DepEd to reconsider their decision. According to Dr. Romylyn Metila, an associate at the Assessment, Curriculum and Technology Research Center, Mother Tongue strengthens students’ skills in English and Filipino.
TDC, also known as Teacher’s Dignity Coalition, fully supports the plan but gives DepEd a heads-up that this must be implemented suitably.
“If we can improve their Mother Tongue skills and properly implement the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE), this would also affect their mastery in English and Filipino,” Dr. Metila elaborated, adding that theories and studies can support her statement.