Remembering the MTBMLE Trailblazers

On May 15, 2013, President Benigno Aquino III finally signed into law the "Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013." The law provides the framework for the implementation of Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education (along with the use of culturally friendly materials) as part of the K-12 Program. Somebody remarked that MTBMLE made the K-12 program truly transformative.

Congratulations  to the authors of the bill, especially to Sen Ralph Recto and Cong Magi Gunigundo for fighting hard to insert the use of the late exit version of MTBMLE as part of the K-12 program. At first, most of us were ready to settle with the early exit version of MTBMLE (abruptly ending at grade 3) but Cong Magi Gunigundo insisted that the late exit version (transitioning up to grade 6) must be upheld and so we wrote that open letter to the Senate.   We are pleased to see the final outcome. It is a reason to celebrate and thank God for how he made things possible. We never imagined that MTBMLE would be institutionalized into a law in such a short period of time. 
There is this sense of exhilaration and relief. 

Back in 2008, travelling around the country to conduct awareness raising for MTBMLE seemed like a lonely task given the little resources that we had  and the indifferent if not hostile reactions of people about the use of local languages in education.  It should be noted that Dr. Ricky Nolasco (with a strong push from Dr. Ariel Agcaoili of NAKEM) along with Cong Magi led an aggressive nonstop advocacy efforts for MTBMLE (teaching classes on weekdays and travelling almost every weekend). In addition, Nolasco wrote the MTBMLE Primer and brochure, a series of articles published in the Daily Inquirer, seminar-workshop presentations, speeches, and the first MTBMLE resource book, "Starting Where the Children Are" (published in 2010)

SIL and TAP (Dekkers, Catherine Young, Mel Awid, Leslie Gumba) provided the resources needed for the teachers training and materials development. Our friends in DepEd like Dr Para Giron, Dr. Yolly Quijano,  Dr. Vilma Labrador, Dr. Diosdado San Antonio, Dr. Opay Tuy, Dr. Rose Villaneza, and NEDA (Nap Imperial) did the spadework in crafting policies and mobilizing  support for the initial teachers training and materials development. Dr. Dina Ocampo included MTBMLE in her BESRA paper and she (along with Dr. Allan Bernardo and Dr. Cynthia Bautista) highlighted the value of MTBMLE in their UP Centennial Lecture in 2008.

Others like LSP (Dr. Isabel Martin), PNU (Dr. Lydia Liwanag; Rose Suatengco),  NAKEM, Akademiyang Bisaya, Save the Children, APC, WVSU (Dr, Purita Bilbao), Capitol U (Dr. Amor de Torres) LSU (Voltaire Oyzon), MMSU (Dr. Ale Visaya), SLU (Jane Lartec), FWWPP (Butch Hernandez), Mayor Jessi Robredo, Joe Padre, Kiko Datar, Arnold Azurin, Tony Igcalinos, Gloria Baguingan, Aleli Domingo, Dr. Abuso, Firth McEachern, the Lubuagan/Valenzuela teachers  and many others  did their part in trailblazing for  MTBMLE.  These people worked hard and many shed a tear to assert for the merits of MTBMLE. In few instances I saw them set aside their differences and come together to show solidarity like during the 1st Philippine MTBMLE Conference in 2010.

The task before us now is to prove that MTBMLE is the way to go. We need to train teachers and help them and their local  communities produce teaching materials in their local languages (especially those not included in the initial list of languages that received initial support from the national government for materials devt). I am glad that the law allows NGOs to help provide teachers training. There is also a need to develop orthographies and spelling guides. TEIs should put their act together and integrate MTBMLE in their curriculum.... 

We have only just begun... MTBMLE and the K-12 program  provided us a door thru which we can help improve the quality of education in the country. There might be some disagreeable provisions in the law but it provides an adequate space to explore new options in education.   Personally, I feel grateful that I had the chance to witness the sincere and passionate efforts our trailblazers made to honor our languages and cultures, and provide quality and relevant education to our Filipino  learners. I sincerely hope their efforts will not be in vain 

To cite this article:
Arzadon, C. (2013, May 5). Remembering our MTBMLE Trailblazers. Retrieved from: http://mothertongue-based.blogspot.com/2013/05/remembering-mtbmle-trailblazers.html

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