MTBMLE International Conference 2016 - Call for papers



International Conference on Inclusive Education and Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education
February 18-20, 2016
Waterfront-Manila Pavilion Hotel (Manila, Philippines)
Theme: From MDG/EFA 2015 to SDG 2030

The conference provides an avenue to examine and reflect on the vision and directions for Education as articulated in the new global initiative called Sustainable Development Goals 2030, a sequel to MDG and EFA 2015. The fourth goal states “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.”

How does the SDG 2030 – Goal 4 resonate with the existing MTBMLE theories, practices, policies and advocacies?  What can we learn as we look back on various MTBMLE cases in the recent years?  What are  foundational practices, promising initiatives, organizational arrangements, and other gains that should be captured to inform processes  in classrooms and communities? Does MTBMLE lead to a more inclusive environment and appreciation of diversity of languages and cultures? Does it facilitate better learning? What are hard lessons and challenges that we should consider and address together? What are the possibilities for synergy and solidarity among the stakeholders?

The conference would like to invite teachers, researchers, academicians, students, writers, artists, materials developers,  NGOs and other interested individuals to present their work that will respond to the questions raised by the conference. The presentation can be any of the following:

  1. Exhibit of big and small books, orthographies, primers (L1, Transition and L2), teachers/learners guides, related instructional materials and  instructional devices (a booth  will be provided for each region) 
  2. Micro-Teaching Demonstration (the conference will provide evaluators)
  3. A 20 minute oral presentation (a research paper, lessons and reflections, case study, workshop), any creative output or poster presentation related to any of the following topics
  • Community Generated Stories for Big and Small Books
  • Development of Multilingual Materials  
  • Contextualization and Localization of Materials and Instruction 
  • Teaching Science and Math thru MTBMLE  
  • Teaching Strategies for Literacy and Language Development
  • MTBMLE Transition and Exit Models 
  • Indigenous and Multicultural Education 
  • Teacher  Preparation and Support
  • The Multilingual and Inclusive Classroom, School and Community 
  • Language Issues in Higher Education
  • MTBMLE Trends and Issues in ASEAN Context and Beyond
  • National and Global Languages in a Multilingual Context
  • Education Stakeholders: Synergy and Solidarity 
  • ICT and  Inclusive Education 
  • Policy Making at the National and Local Level 
  • Research Approaches and Tools 
  • MTBMLE and Inclusive Education  in Various Settings (Early Childhood Care and Education, Special Education, Alternative Learning System, Adult Literacy Programs)
Guidelines on Submission of Presentation Proposals
1. Submissions should include basic information:
  • Name and institutional affiliation
  • Complete contact information (e-mail address, telephone number, and mailing address)
  • Type of presentation (exhibit of materials, micro-teaching demonstration, paper, poster, creative presentation)
2. Specific content:
  • Submissions for oral and poster presentations should be accompanied with an abstract (250-300 words).  
  • Submissions for exhibit of materials should indicate the titles of materials, language(s) used, category (stories, primers, teaching-learning guides and devices, language reference materials) 
  • Submissions for micro-teaching demonstration should include a broad outline of the lesson plan -- title, topic, learning area, grade level, language(s) to be used, objectives (related to content and language), activities, materials
3. Please submit presentation proposals to mlephilippines@gmail.com
4. Dates to remember
  • Deadline for submission of presentation proposals: extended until December 31, 2015
  • Acceptance notification January 8, 2016
  • Deadline of registration for presentors: January 31, 2016
  • Deadline for submission of a copy of  presentation materials (full paper or slide presentation/ complete lesson plan) — January 31, 2016
The venue of the conference is Waterfront-Manila Pavilion Hotel located at Maria Orosa Street (Corner United Nation Ave), Ermita, 1000, Metro Manila. http://www.waterfrontpavilionmanila.com/. It will take about 30 – 45 minute taxi ride from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Conference Fee - includes the conference kit, certificate, 2 meals, 5 snacks.
  • Early bird registration fee P5,400 (extended until January 18, 2016)
  • Regular registration fee for local Filipino participants:  Php 6,000; International participants $200   
  • Student discount: 5%  (upon presentation of current enrollment document)    

For other inquiries, please contact the MTBMLE Conference Secretariat at +63-9176109057 (Leslie Gumba) or +63-9178400814 (Dr.
Lydia Liwanag) mlephilippines@gmail.com

Note: The conference registration fee does not include a  hotel room or  lodging. You may book a room at Waterfront-Manila Pavilion Hotel Ma.Orosa Street (Corner United Nation Ave), Ermita, 1000, Metro Manila  http://www.waterfrontpavilionmanila.com/ or in any of the nearby hotels.

Visa Information - Most visitors to the Philippines are not required to apply for a visa. To check if you need to apply for a visa please visit  http://www.dfa.gov.ph/consular-services/visa-information

This conference is organized by 170+Talaytayan MLE and its partners

For inquiries, email mlephilippines@gmail.com


Madam Herminia Osting -- MTBMLE Exemplar

I met Madam Herminia Osting in 2011. She was then serving as the School Principal at Lengaoan Elementary School, a small school in the middle of the Mountain Trail of Benguet. She showed me and my students some of the Kankanaey big books she wrote. Since her college life at SLU, Baguio, she developed a strong interest in Cordilleran literature. During our first meeting, we talked about MTBMLE for almost the whole chilly night of February. In the years to come, she sought every opportunity to improve the MTBMLE materials and teaching strategies she has been developing.

More than four years later, I saw her again (now a principal of  Loo Elementary School and PSDS OIC) showing me the fruits of her labor—new big books (a few were published locally), new MTBMLE allies, the newly approved (by the community and the government) Kankanaey orthography…. All these became possible even if Kankanaey (the 13th largest Phil language) was not selected as one of the 19 Philippine languages supported by the central office of DepEd for massive material development

She and her teachers, dipped from their own pockets to produce many more Kankanaey big books (now more than a hundred). Later, the LGU contributed some and when MTBMLE became part of the K-12 Law, they were given the go signal to use their meager MOOE. They wrote fun and captivating stories that young learners in Benguet (and other rural places) would fondly remember----frog friends who discovered a large footprint...the duck who got stuck under the stairs...the cockroach with a pot belly, etc. Some were written to teach the sounds of the alphabet and some for simple enjoyment of their young readers.

According to Madam Osting (who taught grade one for a long time), when English or Tagalog text was used (before the MTBMLE policy came out) pupils would only be able to read in September...now they can read with comprehension in July. In the past, when a question was posed, the pupils would go back to the book to search for the right word that will answer the question.  Now with the story in their language, the pupils would respond spontaneously and would even offer their own interpretation and opinion.

Other teachers from neighboring schools in Benguet have been coming to borrow and photocopy the big books Madam Osting and her teachers wrote. There is indeed a need for an affordable means (an alternative to the traditional publishing) to reproduce these mother tongue big books. I hope these big books would also have a small and portable version that kids can bring home and read on their own. Maybe a digital version that can be downloadable in tablets or mobile phones is one possible solution. IPR is also one issue in MTBMLE (there are horror stories about this).  

I hope that some of these Kankanaey stories, including those written in other Philippine languages would be translated to Tagalog (instead of the usual practice of translating Tagalog stories to other languages). I am aware that our gifted teacher-writers in Bicol, under the leadership of Dr. Opay Tuy, also produced so many stories in some Bicol languages. There are hundreds more that were produced because of the initial funding provided by the K-12 program. I hope DepEd would make an inventory of the big books produced by the teachers and community people the past six years. Maybe they can even organize a big event to display the books in so many languages (about more than 70). Such would make a strong argument for K-12.
It would be great if someday, our children would have access to these books and be able to read and enjoy stories contributed by various ethnolinguistic communities. I hope, too, that someday the many mother tongue story writers like Madam Herminia Osting would be known and inspire the budding mother tongue writers who would come out of our MTBMLE experience.

Ched Arzadon

Madam Hermie Osting at Lengaoan Elementary School taken in February, 2011

May 2015 at Loo Central Elementary School

Some of the books she and her teachers have produced.

One of the Madam Osting's books that was locally published


Citing the Philippine example in MTB-MLE

Since 2013, I've been hearing in international conferences commendations for our MTBMLE initiatives in  the Philippines, spoken by known authors like Jim Cummins, Jessica Ball, Carol Benson and Kimmo Kosonen. Below, an article from Jakarta Post written by a UNESCO officer during the International Mother Language Day, is one example. We were the first country that issued several laws that prescribe the use of all our mother tongues in basic education and provided a corresponding implementation support in the form of teachers training and materials development. Most countries would recognize only selected languages. Others have a law that allows the use of mother tongue (especially for indigenous groups) but with no strong implementation support. Ours does not exclude any and the government, along with local government units and various NGOs, have been allocating resources.  After we issued DepEd Order 74 s.2009 (Institutionalizing MLE) and later RA 10533 (Enhanced Basic Education with strong MTBMLE provision), Timor Leste, Cambodia and Zambia followed suit. We hope that many more would join us in improving learning thru MTBMLE and in recognizing the languages of our ethnolinguistics groups.  Our present MTBMLE implementation is not without any problem. It is actually sailing through rough waters. The commodification of languages (seeing some as more valuable as they provide better jobs), the myth of a "globally competitive Filipino," and the challenge of handling many languages in a classroom are among the major obstacles. Such are real concerns that can be addressed through research and dialogical processes. MTBMLE is a major education reform initiative to improve access and education outcome and recognize diversity in schools. We cannot just give up and revert to our old ways.

Ched Arzadon


Inclusion in and through education: Language counts 

Kyungah Kristy Bang, Bangkok | Opinion | Sat, February 21 2015, 7:37 AM

Why is mother tongue-based multilingual education important?” It’s a question I’ve been asked often over the past five years in my role as the coordinator of the Asia Multilingual Education Working Group (MLE WG), which advocates on behalf of removing barriers to quality education for ethnolinguistic minorities in this region.

Let me begin with my story.

The first day of school after my family emigrated from South Korea to Canada was the most frustrating and alienating experience I had ever had. I felt like I was lost on another planet where people spoke a different language. I could hear my teachers and classmates but couldn’t communicate with them. Once an active and talkative student, I grew quiet and shy. School was no longer the fun place it had been, and I felt excluded most of the time.

A few months later, I started to make progress. Utilizing my strong reading and maths skills in my mother tongue, Korean, I was able to translate and convert concepts and catch up on learning in English. With support from teachers, classmates and my parents, I slowly started to speak and raise my hand in the classroom and finally felt a sense of belonging in school and in Canadian society.
“Inclusion in and through education: language counts”, the theme of this year’s International Mother Language Day, Feb. 21, resonates with my experience. It also speaks to the challenges faced by some 2.3 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to education in their mother tongue and are excluded as a result. For many of them, the challenges I faced are made more daunting by poverty and other barriers.

Language is a key to inclusion. If children cannot understand, they won’t learn. Unfortunately in monolingual education systems, language poses many barriers keeping students from ethnolinguistic minorities from accessing quality education. Even if such students manage to enroll in school, they are often unable to follow classroom instruction and end up being pushed out of the education system. This in turn results in further marginalization and exclusion from society.

When language barriers are combined with other marginalizing factors such as gender, ethnicity, disability and geographical remoteness, the chances of children entering and completing basic education become very low. According to a recent UNESCO-UIS report, children from marginalized groups in Bolivia, Ecuador, India and Lao PDR, for example, are two to three times more likely to be out of school.
Looking back on my own experience, I realise that the most crucial factor in successfully transitioning from one language — and one education system — to another was the grounding I had in my mother tongue. During my six years of primary education, I developed a strong understanding of concrete and abstract ideas, learning vocabulary and concepts that were transferable to my second language. Without this foundation, it would have been extremely difficult for me to become functionally bilingual and continue my education.
Research has increasingly shown that teaching in a mother tongue early on in school is effective in reducing dropout rates and makes education more engaging for marginalized groups. Children who benefit from mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTB MLE) also perform better in their second language. Unfortunately these benefits elude many ethnolinguistic minority children who do not have such opportunities.

When I was studying in my mother tongue, my parents took a more active role in my learning than they were able to after we emigrated. This parental engagement is important for children’s intellectual and social development and is a good indicator of student survival rates. Parents of ethnolinguistic minority students are often unable to provide this support.

MTB-MLE programs also bridge the gap between the culture at home and that at school and mainstream society. They not only improve learning, they also broaden outlooks, increase tolerance and foster a respect for cultural diversity. These programs are one of the most effective ways through which we can promote a culture of peace and build equitable and inclusive societies.

Multilingual education initially costs more than monolingual education; however, the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial investment, provided there is adequate funding allocated toward promoting the use of mother tongues, the development of multilingual teaching-materials and teacher training. Monolingual education is not sustainable in multilingual nations, and thus MTB-MLE programs are likely to result in considerable savings over the long term, while also tapping the previously untouched potential of millions of ethnolinguistic minority students.

It has been my privilege to be involved in the MLE movement in Southeast Asia, which has been among the most dynamic in the world over the past decade. Cambodia and the Philippines are among the countries in this region that have shown increased government support and commitment to language education policy that ensures the language of instruction reflects the way in which children learn and teachers teach.

Successes such as these are turning what were once alien worlds for children into welcoming ones, benefiting these young learners and their societies as a result.

The writer is the project officer for multilingual education at UNESCO Bangkok and the coordinator of the Asia Multilingual Education Working Group, a consortium of UN agencies, inter-governmental organizations, academics advocating on behalf of ethnolinguistic communities through multilingual education initiatives and related policy advocacy throughout Asia-Pacific.

One of our staunch MLE advocates, Dr. Aurelio Agcaoili (NAKEM International and 170+ Talaytayan MLE) posted an article in a local newspaper during the celebration of International Mother Language Day.

Mother language counts and more

by BusinessMirror - February 22, 2015

WHY the United Nations needed to institute the International Mother Language Day (IMLD) in 1999 is both a reminder to do things right and a signal to account for our gains.

Sixteen years after, we are still celebrating the IMLD.

This reminder is simple enough: Mother language counts. And it counts because there is no way we can ever shortchange our learners by making them aware of the world around them through a language that is not theirs.
This leads us to the celebratory nature of the IMLD.

The assumption is that when everyone’s mother language has been recognized and respected, there shall no longer be the need to single out a day in February—every 21st of this month—and have this day reserved for making all of us aware that language counts in the education of our young.

Here, we insist: It is not just any language.  It is their first, indigenous, native, or mother language. ‘Mother’ here is not mother per se, but a concept to mean source from which all acts of knowing come.

Which means simply that this language, in which our learners are born is that source through which they get to understand the world around them for the first time, and that first time ought to continue uninterrupted for their understanding to make sense.
This means that through that source language, our learners get to understand the other aspects of that world, or perhaps other worlds. Or perhaps other experiences they have not known in the beginning.

The sounds and words and concepts—all these that constitute our learners’ first language—are the requisites through which the first act of learning happens.

When those sounds and words and concepts are dismissed because our learners need to learn another language not their own, the subtle dance of deception comes about even if we call it nationalism or some other brutal logic we resort to to justify our bad educational aims.
The “Education For All” (EFA)concept is unequivocal on the value of mother language.

When mother language is not used, the attainment of the EFA goals becomes a case of an educational abracadabra.
It is a pure ruse in numbers without substance that when we are not looking, it could be passed off as gains by governments that do not know any better. Which leads us to the context of IMLD when a country is multilingual, and thus, multicultural as in the case of the Philippines.
For decades, we had gone the wrong way in instituting bilingual education for the wrong reasons and the wrong methods. Ours was a long history of language miseducation under the guise of nationalism with no memory and with no heart. What the educational apparatus of the state did is to impose a philosophically and cognitively unsound educational practice of making the “educates” learn in a national language based on one of the languages of the country, and another foreign language.  The first is to express patriotism, the second to communicate with the world.

These are two good reasons.

But the means to attaining these were through languages not the child’s, not the learner’s.

Do we need IMLD?

Until we have not done the right thing in teaching all our young through their mother language, we ought to have IMLD each year. And no less.

Aurelio Solver Agcaoili

The author is the program coordinator for Ilokano of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he has pioneered community language programs for heritage learners. He has written four dictionaries on the Ilokano language for various audiences. A founding member of 170+Talaytayan, he serves as its vice president for international relations. He helped found an advocacy group for cultural diversity and linguistic pluralism, Nakem Conferences. He writes in three languages and has received awards for his work in education, communication and creative writing, including a novel in Tagalog that won a Centennial Literary Prize.


International Mother Language Day 2015 Celebrations

UNESCO declared 21 February as International Mother Language Day (IMLD) and since 2000, it has been observed throughout the world.  21 February is the anniversary of a most memorable day in Bangladesh’s history; it is a national day to commemorate protests and sacrifices to protect Bangla (Bengali) as a national language during the Bengali Language Movement of 1952. Bangladesh used to be Eastern Pakistan. When the Pakistan government declared Urdu as the sole national language in 1948, disregarding Bangla which was the language of the majority, protests were undertaken throughout the Bengali-speaking population.  On 21 February 1952, students at the University of Dhaka (which was like the UP of Eastern Pakistan) organized a protest which resulted with the police opening fire and the consequent deaths of four students. Later, after a series of strife and tension, in 1971, that part of Pakistan obtained its independence and became what we now know as Bangladesh.  In early 1999, two Bangladeshi members of an organization called “Mother Language Lovers of the World” in Canada proposed the UNESCO to declare 21st February as an International Mother Language Day.  This enabled UNESCO to adopt the historic resolution in the long run.

In the Resolution 12 of UNESCO's 30th General Conference 1999, it states…recognizing the need to improve understanding and communication among peoples….Also recognizing the great importance of safeguarding the linguistic and cultural heritage of humanity and extending the influence of each of the cultures and languages of which that heritage is composed...Considering the current threat to linguistic diversity posed by the globalization of communication and the tendency to use a single language, at the risk of marginalizing the other major languages of the world, or even of causing the lesser-used languages, including regional languages, to disappear…

The Resolution recommends that Member States:
(a)  create the conditions for a social, intellectual and media environment of an international character which is conducive to linguistic pluralism;

(b)  promote, through multilingual education, democratic access to knowledge for all citizens, whatever their mother tongue, and build linguistic pluralism

DepEd Memo on IMLD celebrationhttp://www.deped.gov.ph/.../files/memo/2011/DM_s2011_019.pdf

We are holding a modest celebration of IMLD at the College of Education, UP, Diliman.

  • Australia - The Research Centre for Languages and Cultures and the University of South Australia and the South Australian Government’s Multicultural Education Committee are jointly hosting an event in observance of  IMLD 2015. The public lecture will be about the nature of the problems in contemporary language politics and in attempting to formulate new directions for a politics of language in a notion of Linguistic Citizenship that addresses issues of social, economic and political injustice for marginalized populations of minority or non-dominant language speakers. Please find all information, including how to register in the attached flyer.
  • Pakistan – Institute for Education and Development is planning to have a seminar in Peshawar Pakistan on Feb 21 regarding the languages spoken in this part of Pakistan.
  • U.S.A –Language and Peacebuilding symposium in Washington, DC. How do issues of language, language complexity, and communication play out in peace-building efforts and ongoing security? How can language issues be identified and addressed effectively in policy planning and execution? Drawing on relevant scholarship and experience, these questions will be addressed through a combination of keynote address and a lively panel discussion. For further information and registration please check: http://www.allianceforpeacebuilding.org/event/2015/02/language-policy-and-peacebuilding/ 
  • Kenya - The MLE Network of Kenya is holding an event at the University of Nairobi which will include a panel discussion with Kenyan academics and language experts.
  • Congo - SIL and Shalom University of Bunia will be holding two half-day conferences on February 20th and 21st. Activities will include presentations from eleven researchers involved with the region’s languages as well as speeches from academics and the public officials about the value of the mother tongue. The event will be featured on local radio stations. 
  • Canada – Punjabi Language Teachers Association of Canada will organize an event to share information about the continuous efforts to have Punjabi language education British Columbia’s public schools, colleges and universities. Please see attached file for further information.
  • Nepal - Nepal Academy and UNESCO Office in Kathmandu will organize 2 days (20-21 February) event to celebrate upcoming IMLD. The celebration will be joined by Ministry of Education, Tribhuvan University and civil society organizations in Nepal. The event will include presentations on language situation in Nepal, MTB MLE policy and practices, role of UNESCO in promoting MLE, creative writings in mother tongues and other MLE- related initiatives
  • Turkey – There will be an “International Conference on Multilingual Education and Development, Focus on Turkey” on 19 February 2015 in Antalya, Turkey. Please check the conference website: http://amuseturk2015.org/ for more information.
  • New Zealand – Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Aotearoa New Zealand (TESOLANZ) is running IMLD Campaign “Say Hi on Mother Tongue Day!” Greet your whānau, friends, colleagues and neighbours in their mother tongue to celebrate International Mother Language Day. Phone, send an email, text, or call over the back fence to say ‘Hi’ in their mother tongue. Please see attached poster for your information.
  • Uganda -  As part of its local language education promotion in remote communities, Ugandan NGO Literacy and Adult Basic Education (LABE) will mark International Mother Language Day in each of the 6 post-conflict districts in Northern Uganda where it works.  Activities will include dissemination of a newly developed Kakwa language orthography in Koboko District, community-level reading and storytelling competitions in the other districts and producing a supplement in the Luo language newspaper highlighting this year’s Theme.

IMLD 2015 Infographic

Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of International Mother Language Day, 21 February 2015

Inclusive Education through and with Language -- Language Matters

2015 marks the 15th anniversary of International Mother Language Day – this is also a turning point year for the international community, as the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, when countries will define a new global sustainable development agenda.

The focus for the post-2015 agenda must fall on the priority of advancing quality education for all -- widening access, ensuring equality and inclusiveness, and promoting education for global citizenship and sustainable development. Education in the mother language is an essential part of achieving these goals -- to facilitate learning and to bolster skills in reading, writing and mathematics. Taking this forward requires a sharper focus on teaching training, revisions of academic programmes and the creation of suitable learning environments.

UNESCO takes forward these goals across the world. In Latin America, with the United Nations Children's Fund, UNESCO is promoting inclusive education through bilingual intercultural approaches, in order to include both native and non-native cultures. For the same reasons, the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Asia and the Pacific, based in Bangkok, Thailand, is working to deepen understandings of multilingual education based on the mother tongue, across the region and further afield. Mother tongue education is force for quality learning – it is also essential to bolster multilingualism and respect for linguistic and cultural diversity in societies that are transforming quickly.

Since 2000, there has been tremendous progress to reach the goals of Education for All. Today, we must look ahead – to complete unfinished business and to tackle new challenges. International Mother Language Day is a moment for all of us to raise the flag for the importance of mother tongue to all educational efforts, to enhance the quality of learning and to reach the unreached. Every girl and boy, every woman and man must have the tools to participate fully in the lives of their societies – this is a basic human right and it is a force for the sustainability of all development.



Honoring Madam Norma Duguiang, lead MTBMLE pioneer and advocate from Lubuagan

Norma Duguiang in her classroom

We learned the sad news that Madam Norma Odiem Duguiang joined her Maker last Dec 24, 2014 due to heart attack.. She's the hardy teacher of Lubuagan Central Elementary School who along with other fellow teachers advocated for MTBMLE long before it became a policy. She spoke in the Congress during a deliberation on a language and education policy. She was also one of the resource persons who equipped the first sets of national MTBMLE teacher trainers of the Department of Education. 

In 2009-2010, I would bring my graduate class to her hometown to observe the MLE classes in Lubuagan Central Elementary School and Mabilong Elementary School. 

Madam Norma would open her home to us. It's actually the ancestral house of the Odiems, a traditional three level wooden structure with so many spacious rooms.  She would tell us stories behind the Kalinga artifacts that are displayed all over their place. She would point to the large pots saying that their women would  use them to draw water from the river. The beautiful multicolored beads that adorned their necks were made of expensive ceramic material. They would make replicas out of recycled plastic material.

Our favorite topic, of course, was the issue of language. She would express her sadness about how their young are forgetting some Lilubuagen words.  “I am sad that the young people today do not know original Lilubuagen words like how we call the anahaw leaf which is alaaw. They have also forgotten the names of some indigenous kitchen utensils since they have come to prefer those plastic wares.”   

Norma's house
My EDFD 221 students at Madam Norma's house
Madam Norma would remember the challenge of learning in an unfamiliar language. She  would refer to the time in the 1960s when the vernacular was supposed to be the medium of instruction. Since their teachers were Ilocano, they were forced to learn to read and write in their teachers’ language. That time nobody from Lubuagan was educated enough to be a school teacher. At least Ilocano was then the trade language and so they could get by. 

Lubuagan beads
MTBMLE Class at Lubuagan Central Elem Scl
MTBMLE board work in 2009
The most difficult moment was when the bilingual policy was imposed in 1974. Madam Norma was in the middle of her social studies class when her supervisor came. She was asked to immediately switch from English to Tagalog. A stack of paper was placed on her lap detailing the new policy requirement to use Tagalog in teaching Social Studies. At that time Tagalog was totally alien in most places in the Philippines. Tagalog was not yet widely used in radio or TV. Besides, there was no electricity yet in Lubuagan.  Teaching became burdensome and unnatural because she had to consult a Tagalog-English dictionary so often. 

And so the prospect of using Lilubuagen in school was something that was warmly welcomed. Using the local language has improved the performance of the school. Their ranking moved from the bottom to the top in their in the whole division of Kalinga. In a feature story on TV by Howie Severino, it was found that Lubuagan pupils even outperformed the pupils of Caloocan City, Metro Manila.

Thank you Madam Norma for opening your home to us, for showing us the reasons why our language and culture are worth remembering...

Ched Arzadon

To cite:
Arzadon, C. (2015, January 6). Honoring Madam Norma Duguiang, an MTBMLE pioneer and advocate from Lubuagan. Retrieved from http://mothertongue-based.blogspot.com/2015/01/honoring-madam-norma-duguiang-mtbmle.html


Resolution in Support of the Right to Use Ilokano and Other Languages in General Education Curriculum (GEC) and Teacher Education Pre-Service Curriculum

WHEREAS, we delegates of the First International Congress on the Ilokano Language note that the use of languages in the General Education Curriculum (GEC) has become a subject of recent debate.

WHEREAS, the Philippines is a multilingual country for which multilingual policies are just, sensible, and timely;

WHEREAS, the Philippine Constitution upholds academic freedom for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and also the freedom of expression;

WHEREAS, the choice of languages should first and foremost be motivated by educational principles and not political machinations;

WHEREAS, Philippine local languages have been effectively pioneered in a variety of higher education contexts from Luzon to Mindanao, Hawaii, and beyond;

WHEREAS, there is no scientific evidence that other languages besides English and Tagalog are innately inadequate for academic discourse;

WHEREAS, the use of mother tongues can enrich classroom discourse and critical thinking, and recent research demonstrates that development of one’s first language correlates with literacy skills in second languages even into adulthood;

WHEREAS, the use of mother tongue in basic education is now institutionalized as part of the Enhanced Basic Education Curriculum (RA 10533);

WHEREAS, Filipino is the national language, it should not be privileged at the expense of others as all Philippine languages are our heritage and collective patrimony, and can be intellectualized through the initiative of their speakers;

WHEREAS, a Filipino language requirement, whether as a subject or as a medium of instruction, contradicts the purpose of General Education;

NOW, THEREFORE, the delegates of the First International Congress on the Ilokano Language duly assembled:



  • to declare that the GEC be free from medium of instruction requirements that target a specific language 
  • that should a Filipino language-related subject be included in the GEC, it should be applicable and open to various Philippine languages  
  • to revise the Teacher Education Pre-Service Curriculum thoroughly integrating MTBMLE principles and practices across the curriculum and to include local language courses and teaching using the mother tongue.

ADOPTED at the First International Congress on the Ilokano Language held at Hotel Supreme, Baguio City from 23-25 October 2014.

Resolution Supporting a Robust and Vibrant Implementation of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTBMLE) from Kindergarten to Grade Three Including the Transition Phase from Grade Four To Six as Provided by RA 10533 “The Enhanced Basic Education Act Of 2013″

WHEREAS, we delegates of the First International Congress on the Ilokano Language have reaffirmed our rights, duties, and privilege to protect and enrich our language, a source of identity for millions of Ilokano people and an inextricable part of the fabric of Filipino society;

WHEREAS, we recognize and appreciate the bold initiatives of the Department of Education to make Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education a key component of the new basic education curriculum institutionalized through Republic Act (RA) 10533;

WHEREAS, RA 10533 states that the new basic curriculum shall be relevant, contextualized, localized and culturally sensitive, especially in the production and development of teaching materials;

WHEREAS, the policy provides that for the kindergarten and the first three (3) years of elementary education, instruction, teaching materials and assessment shall be in the languages of the region and the native language of the learners;

WHEREAS, the Department of Education (DepEd) is directed to formulate a mother language transition program from Grade 4 to Grade 6;

NOW, THEREFORE, the delegates of the First International Congress on the Ilokano Language duly assembled:


SPECIFICALLY, we pose the following components to enhance the potential of the MTBMLE program:

  • MTBMLE teachers’ training and instructional materials provided at the kindergarten level and not just at grade one
  • Mechanisms to maximize the localization of instructional materials, reflecting the lives and language variety of the community.
  • Appropriate MTBMLE approaches for private schools to likewise include languages of the region in harmony with the MTBMLE program of public schools.
  • Researched-based interventions for the delivery of instruction in multilingual classrooms so that pupils whose L1 is not the official medium of instruction will be able to succeed
  • An effective transition plan with substantive representation of the first language and gradual introduction of other languages as mediums of instruction. For example,

a. Maintaining the MTBMLE as a learning area up to at least grade six
b. L1 as medium of instruction in at least four learning areas in grade 4
c. L1 as medium of instruction in at least three learning areas in grade 5
d. L1 as medium of instruction in at least two learning areas in grade 6
e. L1 as an auxiliary medium of instruction in the remaining grade levels

  • The teaching of Filipino as a national language in the context of linguistic democracy recognizing the multilingual nature of the Philippines and the various debates and perspectives surrounding the national language.
  • Opportunities for children to use their languages in a wide assortment of activities to complement their formal instruction, foster a creative language and literacy environment, and raise the public image of DepEd’s MTBMLE program, particularly among parents. It is hence timely for the guidelines of various events to be carefully reviewed and adjusted to make room for the mother tongue, such as in the following activities:  

a. National Schools Press Conference
b. Campus journalism
c. National Heritage Month
d. International Mother Language Day
e. Cinepambata Video Festival
f. Sagisag Kultura Competition
g. National Reading Month
h. National Festival of Talents

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Nakem International and Nakem Philippines, the organizers of this Congress duly assembled, are willing to assist the Department of Education in offering a pool of language experts, educators, writers and editors realizing any of the aforementioned proposals;

ADOPTED at the First International Congress on the Ilokano Language held at Hotel Supreme, Baguio City from 23-25 October 2014.