The hocus-pocus of the powerful in Philippine education.

The hocus-pocus of the powerful in Philippine education.

TO ARGUE that education in the Philippines is a neutral act is to argue from a position of naivete and ignorance.

There has never been any moment at all when the key players of our educational system did not regard us as pawns in the game called the Reproduction of the Same Animal-Speak of the Wretched Philippines.

That 'animal-speak' is the language of lie passed off as truth by those in power, and those in power include teachers, academics, school administrators, and the educational authorities who do not have moral ascendancy.

And then the other authorities are signing statutes as if the educational system is their fiefdom, what with even the supposedly morally ascendant educational figures seemingly bowing down to pressures from all over the hegemonic republic.

A Petition "Resisting Interference and Control Language in Higher Education," is now circulating. That Petition is in response to this injustice happening of which the Commission on Higher Education is a party.

We cite from that Petition:

"Several related groups have been pressuring the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to amend the newly crafted CMO 20 series 2013 and make Filipino a requirement in higher education. And to think that some members of the said groups were privileged to participate in the series of consultations and crafting of the said policy, which they now oppose. In May 2014, the Committee on Language and Translation of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) issued a resolution demanding that 9 units of Filipino language be a mandatory part of the General Education Curriculum in colleges and universities. Does anyone else find it ironic that the government body entrusted to preserve cultural diversity, which includes linguistic diversity, sponsored a resolution that seeks the blanket inclusion of 9 mandatory units of only Filipino and makes no mention of any other language?

"Unfortunately, CHED seems to be bowing to the pressure of these one-sided groups, which are composed mostly of national language writers and instructors. The chair of CHED, Dr. Patricia Licuanan, issued a press statement on June 23, 2014, saying that they are considering (maybe as a concession) making it mandatory that three of the General Education subjects be taught using Filipino. They say, yes there is academic freedom but only as far as deciding which 3 GE subjects are to be taught in Filipino. The requirement to offer a certain number of units in teaching Filipino in the GEC or prescribing its use as language of instruction without extending the same kind of privilege to other languages—Philippine or otherwise—is a highly problematic move. Aside that it CHED would essentially be forcing colleges and universities—which should be bastions of free thinking, plurality, and equality to subscribe to a hegemonic one-nation-one language ideology. Any language policy should reflect the multilingual context of our learners. Furthermore, since languages mediate learning, the choice of language to be used in a particular area of study should be based on the objective to improve learning outcomes and to equip the students to the world of work and service in their own community and beyond."

Now, if you believe in linguistic justice, in cultural democracy, and in emancipatory education--if you believe in the need to resist the temptations of Tagalogization--please sign this Petition. 

No comments: