LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte–The Ilokano writers association in the province has launched a signature campaign for a petition to recall all Ilokano books used in the Mother Tongue- Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) program.
Addressed to Secretary Leonor Briones of the Department of Education, the petition claimed that the books, which it described as “sick,” lack substance and erroneous in grammatical quality.
It (petition) stressed that the books don’t guarantee the equipping of the young Ilokanos of the needed skills, values, knowledge, among others, that they need “to transition to the higher grades and be prepared for life-long learning.”
“The instrumentalist ideology related to language and education is not transformative at all. There is no excuse for mediocrity,” Dr. Aurelio Solver Agcaoili, coordinator of the Ilokano program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said, referring to the books.
Agcaoili, originally from Laoag City, and author of books on the Ilokano language and culture including an Ilokano dictionary and thesaurus, urged concerned parties to sign the petition and participate, he said, in the campaign for the future of young Ilokanos.
The mother tongue education refers to any form of schooling in which the native language, or language the children is familiar with during their formative years, is used in the classroom.
It is one of the changes in basic education curriculum as a result of the implementation of the K-12 program in the entire country.
The widespread use of these books in pre-school and in Grades 1 to 3 has caused problems in the quality of education of these Ilokano learners, according to the petition.
Supporters of the petition are all stakeholders–various communities, organizations and individuals– of the Ilokano language. It is an alliance called as the Committee for the Protection of the Ilokano Language and the Ilokano MTB-MLE.
They said that the books don’t do justice to the need to reflect the ethos, life and values of various Ilokano communities in the Philippines and the diaspora.
The petitioners urged Secretary Briones not only to recall all these books, but also to cause the inventory of all Ilokano MTB-MLE textbooks and supplementary instructional materials.
They also urged the education secretary to form a Committee on the Ilokano language and culture, with the following tasks:
1. assess all MTB-MLE textbooks and instructional materials; and
2. advise the education department in the establishment of policies on the preparation, production and quality assurance of all said books.
Joel Manuel, Ilokano novelist and president of the writers association here, said that at least 5,000 signatures are needed before a copy of the petition is delivered to the Dep-Ed office in Manila. Guerrero Coloma/Peter La. Julian/Northbound Philippines News