Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Certify bill reviving English in schools, GMA urged

CEBU CITY — House Deputy Majority Leader Eduardo Gullas has asked President Arroyo to promptly certify as urgent a bill methodically revitalizing the use of English in schools.

"It has become unmistakably clear that the ability of Filipinos to comprehend, write and speak basic English is fast deteriorating, and this has been depriving our people the opportunity to secure good-paying jobs and a better future for themselves," Gullas pointed out.

If left unchecked, Gullas warned that the rapid decline in the English competency of Filipinos would eventually erode the competitiveness of the country’s human resources, both here and abroad, in an increasingly "globalized village."

Gullas, an educator, made the statement shortly after the Social Weather Stations (SWS) reported that Filipinos’ self-assessed proficiency in the English language has declined considerably over the last 12 years.

The SWS said the results of a March 2006 survey showed a decline in all aspects of English mastery, most notably in the ability to speak English, as compared to results of similar polls in December 1993 and September 2000.

Under House Bill 2894, Gullas wants English revived through the adoption of a new bilingual program in schools and the use of the language as medium of instruction.

Last year, two House committees — basic education and on higher education — endorsed HB 2894 bill for floor debate and approval.

The existing bilingual policy in schools, adopted in 1974, was designed to develop a "bilingual nation competent in the use of English and Filipino."

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