Amid the celebration of the International Day of Sign Languages today, September 23, Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing for a Senate inquiry on the impact of using the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) as the language of instruction of deaf education.
In filing Proposed Senate Resolution No. 14, Gatchalian noted serious neglect in the implementation of laws that stress the importance of the FSL, including the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) Act (Republic Act No. 11106), which was signed into law in 2018. Aside from mandating the use of the FSL as the language of instruction of deaf education, the FSL Act further mandates that the FSL shall be the medium of official communication in all transactions involving the deaf.
The lawmaker flagged the insufficient training of teachers on FSL, the non-promotion of the licensing and mobilization of deaf teachers, and the lack of FSL materials, which prevent deaf learners from improving their learning process. Gatchalian also noted the non-submission of the annual report on the FSL Act’s monitoring and implementation, which was supposed to be submitted by an Inter-Agency Council created by the law.
Gatchalian further lamented that many deaf graduates fail the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) which does not match the competencies for which they are prepared for. This creates an institutional barrier for deaf graduates who end up as tutors with low-paying jobs instead of entering the educational system as teachers.
“Kung nais nating tiyakin na hindi mapagkakaitan ng dekalidad na edukasyon ang ating mga deaf learners, dapat nating tiyakin na maayos na naipapatupad ang batas na nagsusulong sa Filipino Sign Language Act. Dapat rin nating tugunan ang kakulangan ng mga sapat na materyales at oportunidad para sa ating mga deaf teachers dahil ang ating mga deaf learners ang napag-iiwanan,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education.
Gatchalian added that the FSL Act’s implementing rules and regulations were only signed on December 6, 2021, three years after the law’s effectivity.
Based on Department of Education’s data for School Year 2019-2020, 28,740 learners with disabilities were diagnosed with a hearing impairment or manifested difficulty in hearing.