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Gatchalian urges CHED to consider reintegrating Filipino and Panitikan

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By Hannah Torregoza

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday urged the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to consider reintegrating Filipino and Panitikan into the mandatory college core curriculum.

Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Sen. Sherwin T. Gatchalian
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate su-committee on education reform, made the call amid protests coming from the academe and Filipino literary figures regarding their removal.

The senator noted it is up to CHED to revise its policy even after the Supreme Court upheld the validity of its Memorandum No. 20 series of 2013 which removed Filipino and Panitikan as mandatory college subjects.

“Sana ay magbago ang isip ng CHED (I hope CHED changes its mind). I am hoping that Chairman (Prospero) Popoy de Vera will see the wisdom in including Filipino and Panitikan as core general education (GE) courses,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

The senator noted that some members of the academe and Filipino literary figures, including National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, had also assailed the CHED memorandum issued in 2013 during the term of former CHED chairperson Patricia Licuanan.

“As our national language, it is important for Filipino to be taught at all levels of education, including college. It is not enough to teach this only in senior high school,” Gatchalian said.

“Sa pagtatanggal ng dating pamunuan ng CHED noon sa Filipino at Panitikan sa kolehiyo para bang sinabi na rin nila na hindi karapat-dapat na mas mataas o mas malalim na pag-aaral ang ating sariling wika at literatura, (With the decision of the past CHED leadership to exclude Filipino and Panitikan as mandatory college subjects is like them saying it is unworthy to study our own language and literature),” he added.

Gatchalian also urged De Vera to first hold consultations with the concerned groups and stakeholders, including the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino, before it starts implementing the contentious memorandum.

In its decision, the High Court also lifted the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued in April 2015 against the so-called “anti-Filipino” provision of the CHED memorandum.

“Sana ay pakinggan muna ng CHED ang lahat ng panig, lalung-lalo na ang mga eksperto sa ating wika at panitikan, (I hope CHED would hear all sides of all stakeholders, especially those experts in our language and literature),” he said.

In a DZBB interview, Gatchalian said he noticed that many young Filipinos now do not know how to use the Filipino language properly and their knowledge of the language and literature is shallow.

“Napansin ko na etong mga nag aaral ngayon sa elementary at high school, marami sa kanila, mababaw ang pagka-gamit sa (wikang) Filipino at kung babawasan pa natin, lalong mababaw yung pag gamit nila at pag unawa nila sa Filipino, lalo na pagdating sa kolehiyo (I noticed that most of elementary and high school students have a shallow knowledge of Filipino and this will further reduce if we don’t reinforce it by teaching the language in college),” Gatchalian said.

“Kaya para sa akin, mas maganda na ituloy at laliman pa yung pagtuturo para magamit din ito sa mga trabaho nila. Dahil sa trabaho natin dito bihira na talaga magamit ang Pilipino, karamihan English eh. At ito ay para sa akin hindi magandang pangyayari, dahil ang wika or language ay isang paraan para lalong lumalim ang ating nasyonalismo (For me, I think it is best that we continue and deepen the teaching of our own language so they can use it even in their careers. Because in our work, only a few are using Filipino and most companies are using English. That is not good because language is one of the best mediums to instill nationalism),” Gatchalian stressed.

The lawmaker also said his subcommittee will also look further into the status of the Philippine education system in the coming weeks.

He said Senate Resolution No. 675, which he earlier filed, in particular seeks to look into the current state of the entire education system in light of the poor marks the Philippines gain in terms of educational access and quality in various international reports.

Gatchalian, who is also vice chair of the Senate committee on education, arts and culture, had said the Senate probe aims to “conduct an honest, objective performance review of the entire education system, encompassing everything from day care all the way up to the postgraduate level, as well as nonformal and special education.”

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