The current issue on the medium of instruction to be used in schools – whether English or Filipino – is absurd. No matter how both camps react on this, it is undeniably true that it is the English Language that controls every entirety of the world. Though it is spoken by only 7.5 percent of the world’s population, we still need to learn the language. The reason is very simple and practical: English speakers, no matter how few, control more arms than the rest of the warmongering world. It follows that for us Filipinos to keep our track to global competitiveness, it is just but fitting to be proficient on the said language. This will only be possible if Filipinos will constantly practice the said language. This would mean resorting to the only practical way – using English as the medium of instruction in schools.
I have five strong points on why English and only English is prescribed over the Filipino Language to be used in classroom discussions.
First, the population of Philippine universities is so diverse. Students came from different provinces of the country suggesting a wide variation of dialects used. Realizing the fact that there are over one hundred seventy-two native languages and dialects are spoken, the use of one common language is very much necessary. It would be convenient for them to communicate on a certain language known by all. And this language that is common to all is no less than English. Studies show that English is the pre-dominant non-native language and is spoken to a great degree by majority of Filipinos, in statistics, by seventy-four percent. Thus, English should be used in schools as a primary medium of instruction
Second, there are certain technical terms in Science and science-related courses that are more understandable in English. For instance, if we are to discuss on Newton’s Third Law Of Motion: The Law of Action And Interaction. Could we translate it as Ang Pangatlong Batas ng Galaw ni Newton: Ang Batas ng Galaw At Paggalaw? As I see it, the Filipino-translated English term is not as precise as it is in English. For one, the words action and interaction don’t actually mean galaw and paggalaw. The latter terms appear to be too vague as it is suppose to be meant. Or in Mathematics, would there be any defined translations for Trigonometric Identities such as Sines, Cosines, Tangents? Or will the Filipino Translators still keep it as is? Then for what reasons they need these matters be taught in Filipino if only they will limit it to some terms? In those cases, it will just confuse the minds of the students and would discourage them to learn further because it is consequently difficult to study in a language that is not fully comprehensible to the students. Thus it would be very practical if the language to be used in the classrooms is English.
Third, the ability to fluently speak, read, and write English is the only avenue to retain the country’s chief international competitive advantage.
Filipinos have long stood out in the global job market for being highly trained and proficient in English. However, over the past few years, the country found itself fiercely competing with its Asian neighbors as its workers are slowly losing their ability to the use of the language.
Survey results showed that “although the Philippines remains competitive with its workforce, most respondents said there was an erosion in the quality of English…jeopardizing the future of the country’s international advantage.” On a scale of one to ten, the rating in the English Language Ability of the current workforce was barely six, noting it to be deteriorating” (qtd. in Remo B2-1).
The deterioration of English is just so rapid and extensive undermining the country’s competitive advantage. Filipinos could not afford to lose this primary lead. This is our only edge among other countries. Thus it shows that English is a practical and convenient requirement in the modern world.
Fourth, English is the roadmap to more foreign investments. In order to attract foreign investors to our country, we should maintain and improve Filipinos’ ability in oral and written English.
“Obviously now, it is more than just the technology. English proficiency and comprehension are already major factors in hiring employees” (qtd. in Remo B2-2).
“Success in the global marketplace depends largely on being able to communicate competently. A good command of English, widely accepted as the global language, is seen as the key to upward mobility for masses. A person who is proficient in English has a better chance of landing a lucrative job” (Nuqui B-5).
For an individual, to be a certified English Language proficient can provide better chances of employment locally or overseas and can be an advantage for him in terms of promotion. For the employer, having this kind of workers to operate businesses can satisfy their customers’ requirements. Thus it is both the interest of the employer and the employee to becoming English experts. Moreover it would help Filipino workers snag better job opportunities and fill in the huge demand for skilled workers abroad.
For this to be realized, one should learn proficiently the use of the English Language. And the best opportunity for this is to learn it while in school. So, schools should adopt English as the language to be exercised in classroom learning experiences.
Lastly, the use of a foreign language – in our case, English – is not an issue of nationalism.
Our national hero, Jose P. Rizal, was multilingual and fluent in English, Spanish, and German. He wrote the Noli Me Tangere” and the “El Filibusterismo” in Spanish because he was more comfortable with the language than with his native tongue. This enabled him to communicate his ideas on the principles of freedom and national liberty more effectively. It did not make him less of a patriot.
Another famous hero known for his deep love of country is Ninoy Aquino. He was from Tarlac but most of his polemics were in English although, like Rizal, he did not lessen in patriotism because he used a foreign language.
At that, English is not really that foreign to us, for we used it in our own for more than half a century during the American regime and beyond. Knowledge of English distinguished us from many other countries and gave us convenient advantage in business, political, and social circles. “We did not need English subtitles, as others did in Hollywood and British movies. Filipino students in American and English universities fared better in arts and letters than their other Asian classmates” (Cruz A14). This just confirms that Filipinos are good English-speakers; and how are we to uphold this than to keep this in practice – keep nothing but English as our means of learning in class.
The use of our national language in our daily conversations is already a firm proof that we value our own. It somehow keeps our identity as Filipinos. But let it be English as the medium of instruction in our schools. As we now know, there are already too many reasons for us to do so – great, great reasons. Would we want these benefits not heed us?