Too tough for DepEd to answer?
By Estanislao Albano, Jr.
Following are some of the questions sent to Supervising Education Program Specialist Jocelyn Tuguinayo and Senior Education Program Specialists Angel Jabines and Nemia Cedo of the Bureau of Learning Delivery (BLD) of the Department of Education (DepEd) on February 26 in continuation of our interview on January 14, 2019 which was cut short due to a meeting they had to attend. They only answered one of the nine questions so far – the particular question is no longer included in the list.
* Regarding the questions on the credibility of the results of the study of Baguio City teacher Noemi Balalao, let me cite the last paragraph of the news report titled “Mother Tongue program hampers English, reading progress – teacher” a copy of which is attached: “Stating that based on her study, contrary to its intent, the Mother Tongue policy is failing to make pupils better in English, Balalao expressed her hope that more studies will be done on the subject so that the whole truth about the impact of the policy on the education of children will eventually be determined.” Balalao does not claim that the result of her study is the last word on the subject. If you are aware of any study favorable to the Mother Tongue program published in the mainstream media, kindly provide the link or specifics of publication as I have been searching online and found none so far.
Undersecretary Tonisito Umali was quoted in a story posted in the Philippine News Agency website on March 7, 2018 declaring that the Mother Tongue program has no negative effect on English proficiency but after the Mother Tongue has been questioned in the mainstream media through Balalao’s study, there has been no word from him and the DepEd about the matter.
* Regarding your not so flattering appraisal of the abilities of the Grades 1-3 teachers in Camp 7 Elementary School saying that they may not be good at teaching the bridging process and may lack dedication and knowledge of their work, could you name schools in Luzon where the Mother Tongue is delivering as promised?
* Regarding the Naga City Mother Tongue success with Grade 1 repeaters related by Ms. Cedo, is the achievement being replicated in other parts of Bicol or in the country? Could you name some schools where it is being replicated so I could go validate?
* Regarding your position that the presence of non-readers in high school is the fault of the principals of their alma maters since they attested that their graduates completed the curriculum, since the phenomenon of non-readers in high school has been observed, has the DepEd ever issued reminders to the field offices to see to it that principals will be very careful so that henceforth, no non-reader will be passed on to high school? If it has, may I know the numbers of the issuances. Or is to remind the field offices that elementary school graduates should be able to read not also a mandate of the DepEd central even when it is starting to come out in the open that we now have non-readers in high school?
During the interview, the three educators expressed doubts on the observation of Balalao that some of the Grade 4 pupils in Camp 7 Elementary School are very week in English such that they cannot even understand simple English words and instructions making translation to necessary saying it impossible since because pupils are immersed in English and Filipino from Kindergarten to Grade 2 and are formally introduced to English in Grade 3. I suggested in the letter that the DepEd conducts random and surprise observation in Grade 4 classrooms in different regions in the country to validate the observations and findings of Balalao in the presence of independent parties including the media.
Are the questions too tough for DepEd experts and the suggestion for validation of the observations of Balalao unworthy of comment considering that the Mother Tongue program is a key feature of the K-12 curriculum?**