Filipino still not academe's dominant language
By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, Oct. 31 (PNA) -- Is the academe using Filipino enough?

Apparently not yet.

Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) survey results released this week show the limited use of Filipino, the country's national language, in public and private colleges and universities nationwide and dominance of English use there instead.

Such schools also lack sufficient Filipino language programs, noted KWF senior language researcher Michelle Tolentino who conducted the survey.

"Reforms in the schools' language policies and programs are needed to better promote use of Filipino," she said.

She noted schools must act on the matter as the 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that for purposes of communication and instruction, the Philippines' official languages are Filipino and - until otherwise provided by law - English.

"Subject to provisions of law and as the Congress may deem appropriate, the Government shall take steps to initiate and sustain the use of Filipino as a medium of official communication and as language of instruction in the educational system," the Constitution reads also.

KWF conducted the survey this year to determine state of Filipino usage in and language policies of colleges and universities nationwide as well as identify these institutions' respective problems hindering use of Filipino.

Tolentino said the survey covered 89 public and 55 private colleges and universities across Luzon (92 schools), the Visayas (33 schools) and Mindanao (19 schools).

She noted 73 of those colleges and universities consisting of 44 public and 29 private schools responded to KWF's survey questions so far.

In the survey, 34 of the respondents reported using the country's national language in Filipino subjects, undergraduate and graduate Filipino courses as well as theses, dissertations and other undertakings of students who are either trying to master Filipino or are enrolled in general courses.

Tolentino noted 23 schools reported having bi-lingual policies and five schools acknowledged using Filipino during the annual 'Buwan ng Wika' celebration in August.

Most of the schools have limited use of Filipino particularly as medium of instruction, she also said.

"There's more use of English in teaching as well as in school publications and research projects," she noted.

She pointed to teachers and students being more skilled at using English and lack of reference materials written in Filipino.

Some schools use English as this is in line with theseinstitutions' respective international targets, she continued.

"One school said it is developing students for the globalcommunity," she said.

Tolentino noted Filipino language policies in the schools are either non-existent, still new or needs enhancing.

She said the schools must address such gaps accordingly to better promote use of Filipino.

The survey identified Northern Philippines' Mariano Marcos State University as demonstrating full support for use of Filipino in its research projects, however.

A slide Tolentino presented during a briefing on the survey indicates the school funds research of Filipino teachers who aim coming up with workbooks covering various subjects.

KWF continues producing reference materials written in Filipino to better promote use of the country's national language.

Earlier, KWF's translation chief Dr. Benjamin Mendillo said the agency produced the official translation of Philippine National Police's Miranda Warning.

Police officers must read such warning to suspects they're apprehending so the latter can be advised of their rights.

Mendillo also said government agencies are increasingly expressing interest in having KWF translate respective information materials.

Climate Change Commission and Philippine institute of Volcanology and Seismology are among agencies that already discussed the matter with KWF he added.(PNA)

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