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Poor English Proficiency in The Philippines!

Bilingual teaching has become a setback in the students’ attempts to gain proficiency in English.

It used to be that the Philippines’ biggest competitive advantage in the global job market is the proficiency of our skilled workers in the English language. This advantage is fast being eroded by rising competition from other countries coupled with declining mastery of the English language by our high school and college graduates. That’s the reason why there is a private sector willing to invest in the Philippines in order for the Filipinos to be globally competitive when it comes to oral and written communications in English.

The Promoting English Proficiency Project of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, the Makati Business Club and SunMicrosystems Phils., Inc. commissioned the survey. It aims to develop a world-class Filipino workforce with English proficiency that meets high international standards. “English means jobs,” said Rick Santos, AmCham president. “We believe that there are great opportunities in business process outsourcing (BPO), IT-enabled services, software development, and tourism in the country.”

English bill in priority list

Gullas proposes use of regional language in all subjects

  • Dr. Ermetes F. Adolfo Jr., a former English Dept. Head in the Secondary Level of the University of the Visayas-Minglanilla Campus, agreed with Rep. Eduardo R. Gullas, president and owner of said university to use English as the medium of instructions both in secondary and tertiary levels, including the elementary level which is the main target of language competency
  • Rep. Gullas proposes use of regional language in all subjects, including pre-school to grade 2
  • Principal Eutiquia S. Alday was also informed by Rep. Gullas that MNSHS is chosen as the pilot school within the Division of Cebu Province and English is the top priority

The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council certified House Bill 305, filed by Rep. Eduardo R. Gullas (Cebu Province, 1st district), as a priority bill.

Gullas expressed confidence that his proposal will survive Congress because 207 legislators also signed as the bill’s co-authors. These include all the seven other Cebuano lawmakers.

Gullas’ proposal, formerly known as HB 4701, was approved on third and final reading in the Lower House late last year. “The bill aims to correct the defects of the current Bilingual Education Program of the Department of Education (DepEd),” said Gullas in his explanatory note. “Its ultimate objective is the improvement of the learning process in schools to ensure quality inputs.”

Bilingual teaching has become a setback in the students’ attempts to gain proficiency in English.

“Targeting the learning of two languages (English and Pilipino) is too much for the Filipino learners, especially in the lower grades. And if the child happens to be a non-Tagalog speaker, this task actually means learning two foreign languages at the same time, an almost impossible task,” Gullas said.

He described this as tragic “because books in almost disciplines are written in English.”

“Science and mathematics, for example, cannot be fully mastered by our students, thus we lag behind other Asian nations in these areas,” Gullas added.

If enacted, the bill will supersede an education department order issued 33 years ago, which implements the bilingual teaching policy in all Philippine schools.

Under the Gullas bill:

·         English, Filipino or the regional language shall be the medium of instruction in all subjects from pre-school to Grade 2;

·         English and Filipino shall be taught as separate subjects in all levels of elementary and high school;

·         English shall be the medium of instruction in all academic subjects from Grade 3 to Grade 6, and in all levels of high school;

·         In the tertiary level, the current language policy as prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education shall be maintained; and

·         In addition to formal instruction, the use of English shall be encouraged as a language of interaction in school.

The organization of English clubs such as book, oratorical, debating, writing and related associations shall be encouraged.

HB 305 also proposes the use of English as the language of assessment in all government examinations and entrance tests in all public schools and state universities and colleges.

Questions in Filipino should not exceed 10 percent of the total points in the examination, Gullas suggested.

The DepEd is required to provide all the devices, training and support facilities to strengthen and enhance English as the medium of teaching.  

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  1. melchie du

    On July 12, 2011 at 8:00 am


    Yes Sir! a poor English proficiency in the Philippines so we must find ways to strengthen this system, and of course individual learners hard-work and effort help to improve our proficiency in English as a result of many opportunities.

  2. tanlangit, ian fe

    On July 13, 2011 at 12:11 am


    usually philippines there are poor in english language.beacause they cant afford for school especially in mountain area

  3. Lomoljo-PAP

    On July 25, 2012 at 3:04 am


    We Filipinos are Bilingual in the sense that we learn one to two languages, even when we are still babies. Many Filipino parents practice their children speaking English at home and it is one of the main cause of Bilingual. And for me, we Filipinos are competitive because we are knowledgeable. But only few who use their knowledge in a right way, example if the person is consider as a bright but poor it will affects a lot to the learner. Because education is taken for granted.

  4. PAYPA, LORIE LEE

    On July 25, 2012 at 3:11 am


    Filipinos were best known for their fluent English skills. However, it turned out to be the other way about when there were changes in the usage of English. Rest assured, we’ll be too laid back if this changes would continue. I guess, it would be better if the government will reinforce the educational system to making English as a basic language for communication.

    -PAYPA, LORIE LEE
    PAP, BSED3/NC1

  5. PAYPA, LORIE LEE

    On July 25, 2012 at 3:16 am


    Filipinos were best known for their fluent English skills. However, it turned out to be the other way about when there were changes in the usage of English. Rest assured, we\’ll be too laid back if this changes would continue. I guess, it would be better if the government will reinforce the educational system to making English as a basic language for communication.

    -PAYPA, LORIE LEE
    PAP, BSED3/NC1

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