Medium of instruction revisited
Cruz started his article with when english was the medium of instruction in our schools, practically every Filipino, including those in the barrios, understood and spoke the language Although he did not deny that ...Some of them used what was then carabao English Talking about murdering the language, I had a work ed teacher in elementary whose pronunciation we fondly imitated. "For exampel, the pineppel is on the tebwel." I am not divulging what region he comes from, though. I guess he would be very old by now, if he hasn't died yet. Anyway, I wonder who murdered the english language more. Them then, or us now? Or is it a matter of meaning? I guess it will all depend on what murdering the language actually mean.
I have not really formed an opinion on what the medium of instruction should be. I have heard a lot of debates on the issue and true to my nature, I see each and every point, I jsut couldn't make up my mind. Maybe writing about it would give me ample time to review the pros and cons. If you have other points for me to consider, I shall welcome them with open arms.
The greatest proponents of using the lingua franca (whatever that is as Visayans will deny that it is Tagalog or the new Filipino for that matter) as the medium of instruction, are the nationalists. They claim inter alia that the language is not ours, and on the contrary, is that of our oppressors. I had a friend who went as far as claiming that the language is a form of bondage and that our mastery of the language only serves us to be better yayas and servants in other countries where english is widely spoken. I shall not dignify that with further scrutiny. Also, it is stated that together with our fondness for the english language comes our penchant for everything American. Care to dispute that?
On the other hand, we hear proponents of english as saying that it would not be practical to change the medium of instruction as it would mean changing our books and inventing new terminologies, etc. That we have an advantage over other nations in terms of providing manpower in other countries because of our mastery of the english language.
There are more but I think the issue have been debated upon time and again that you are all familiar with them by now. So, what do I think about all these?
And yet, I think to change the medium of instruction at this time would be too late. We see our Asian neighbors trying to learn english with much interest. Why, because no matter what we say, America is still a force to contend with and their language is widely spoken in most countries than any other. As the world is getting smaller everyday by globalization, we are entering a new age. An age of information, as foreseen by Alvin Toffler, that guru of world trends who wrote Future Shock and the Third Wave. If this is true, as it is, language will play a major part in world trade and right now, english is common ground. While I don't deny the fact that we should change our medium of instruction, I say we should have done that several decades ago. Perhaps just right after we gained independence in 1946. If my assessment is right, then, there is still hope for the Filipino because we once wrote and spoke english well.
And as an afterthought, with the proliferation of the Chinese in different countries and controlling trade everywhere they are, do you think we ought to learn Mandarin, as well? So, Mandarin anyone?