Senator Win Gatchalian is seeking a national impact evaluation of the Mother-Tongue Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE), ten years after the K to 12 Law mandated the policy’s implementation.
In a privilege speech, Gatchalian lamented that there has been no national impact evaluation after a decade of implementing the MTB-MLE. According to Gatchalian, the national impact evaluation should answer whether the MTB-MLE policy improved early grade literacy in mother tongue, English, and Filipino.
Gatchalian added that the evaluation should also answer whether the use of mother tongue improved learning outcomes in other learning areas such as Math and Science. The impact evaluation should also identify the long-term effect of the MTB-MLE on learning and non-cognitive outcomes from key stages 2 to 4.
Citing his consultations with schools in Pangasinan, Cebu, Davao, and Metro Manila, Gatchalian pointed out that there are difficulties in implementing the mother tongue policy in linguistically diverse areas.
The senator said that the policy may be discriminatory against learners who are not fluent in the regional language chosen as the medium of instruction. Instead of learning in their first language, a large proportion of learners are forced to study materials and participate in class discussion using languages with which they are not familiar.
The senator emphasized the case of Marahan West Elementary School in Davao City where Sinugbuanong Binisaya is the mother tongue used as medium of instruction. Around 40% of key stage 1 learners, however, use Davao Bisaya and the rest use other languages.
“Bilang isang bansang kinabibilangan ng iba’t ibang komunidad na may kanya-kanyang wika at dayalekto, tiyak na hati ang kinahinatnang epekto ng implementasyon ng MTB MLE. Saksi ang mga guro at magulang na hindi ito epektibo para sa lahat. Pakinggan natin ang boses nila lalo na’t walang teorya ang makakapantay sa reyalidad na nararanasan nila. Sa huli, sila mismo ang patunay na hindi ‘one-size-fits-all’ ang pagpapatupad ng MTB-MLE,” said Gatchalian.
Gatchalian also pointed out the significant decline of learner scores from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2003 and 2019, which saw an absolute decline of 61 points in Math and 83 points in Science.
When other variables such as the language of assessment, curriculum coverage, socioeconomic status, and teacher quality are controlled, Gatchalian said that the decline in learner outcomes observed may be partially attributable to the implementation of the MTB-MLE, a hypothesis that he said needs further validation.