Ilocano studies program now offered in Ilocos University

LAOAG CITY —- In an effort to advance Ilocano language and culture, the state-run Mariano Marcos State University Graduate School has started to offer another new program — Master of Arts in Education major in Ilocano Language Studies.

Launched in time for the August opening of classes at MMSU, at least 20 pioneering enrollees underwent an intensive two-week training course who will facilitate the program with Dr. Aurelio Agcaoili, an affiliate faculty member and coordinator of the Ilocano Language, Literature and Culture Program of the University of Hawaii.

Dean Joselito Lolinco of the MMSU Graduate School said the birth of the new curriculum aims to address the growing demand for elementary school teachers to learn the correct usage of the Ilocano language as the Department of Education started to implement the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) program particularly in Kindergarten.

With the new K-12 program of the education department, teachers in Kindergarten, Grades 1, 2 and 3 need to level up their fundamental competencies to ensure that a child is able to read and write using his mother-tongue or first language.

By offering the Ilocano studies program, Lolinco hopes to equip school teachers and cultural workers from the Ilocano-speaking region with the necessary skills to teach the Ilocano language.

For decades, the use of Ilocano language did not play an official role in education as it was even prohibited in some schools. However, with the change of the country’s system of education, the use of Ilocano and all other major Philippine languages is now being recognized for its important role in children’s education. PNA/