On behalf of Minister Mohagher Iqbal and the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education, I want to thank the organizers for their invitation to this event. I have the privilege of sharing with you the message of Minister Iqbal, which I hope will encourage you to work towards fulfilling the MBHTE’s mandate.
Ang wika ay mahalaga dahil ito ang pangunahing instrumento na ginagamit natin para sa kumunikasyon at sa pag-aaral. Sa pamamagitan nito ay naipapahayag natin ang ating mga saloobin at kaisipan. Maliban doon, ang wika ang nagbubuklod sa bawat tao hindi lamang dito sa Bangsamoro, kung hindi sa buong Pilipinas. Ito ay dahil ang wika ay kaluluwa ng isang bansa at salamin ng lipunan. Ito rin ay ang sagisag ng pagkakakilanlan ng isang komunidad o lipunan.
South African anti-apartheid revolutionary leader and former President Nelson Mandela once said, "If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart." In other words, language has two purposes: it is for effective communication, and it is a representation of one's culture and identity.
For Education, no doubt language shall serve as the learner's fundamental tool for literacy and learning. But at the same time, we want to celebrate our cultural diversity, especially here in the Bangsamoro, and provide our children with the space to learn about their traditions. Hence, we want to develop the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) as a priority area of the MBHTE.
At present, the Department of Education utilizes 19 languages in MTB-MLE: Tagalog, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Iloko, Bikol, Ybanag, Sinugbuanong Binisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray, Bahasa Sug, Maguindanaoan, Maranao, Chavacano, Ivatan, Sambal, Akianon, Kinaray-a, Yakan and Sinurigaonon.
As a subject, mother-tongue education focuses on the development of speaking, reading, and writing from Grades 1 to 3 in the mother tongue. As a medium of instruction, the mother tongue is used in all learning areas from Kindergarten to Grade 3, except in the teaching of Filipino and English subjects.
The purpose of a multilingual education program is to develop appropriate cognitive and reasoning skills allowing children to function equally in different languages. It starts with the mother tongue, which is the first language of the child. But we would like to reiterate that investing in the MTB-MLE does not negate the learning of Filipino and English, which are also critical. Nevertheless, it is ideal that every child would develop a strong foundation in their mother tongue. Furthermore, it is for the best interest of the child to be multi-lingual since he or she will one day become a professional joining the Philippine workforce.
However, we do understand there are challenges in implementing this program, especially in diverse communities wherein a variety of mother tongues are utilized. And we hope to discuss these challenges as well as corresponding solutions in this week’s activity.
As expressed by Minister Iqbal in previous public engagements, the principle of Moral Governance shall guide the Education Ministry in the delivery of long-term programs and frontline services. As the government, we can allocate fund programs for the betterment of our people. But in reality, we have finite resources, so it is critical we fully understand the problem we intend to solve. Moreover, our programs must be strategic, informed of the existing context on the ground, will have long-term benefits, and will yield the best results. Hence, we mustn't waste the taxpayer's money. In the MBHTE, we can assure you that we will not tolerate any practice that could breed poor governance and corruption. And I pleased to share that so far, we have been receiving good feedbacks from our constituents on the changes started by the current MBHTE leadership.
Allow me to share that after rolling-out MBHTE programs, Minister Iqbal intends to introduce modalities that will ensure its proper implementation. For instance, I want to inform everyone that very soon, the Ministry will be deploying monitoring teams to the different divisions and districts in the BARMM. The monitoring teams will give us feedback on the status of programs and activities and the utilization of public resources. Hopefully, it will have very soon.
This workshop is timely as it hopes to address a critical area for the MBHTE. We are confident that it will be a very productive one, and we look forward to the outcome. On behalf of the Minister, I want to thank our partners for organizing this workshop and sharing your expertise on the subject matter. Moreover, we appreciate the presence of all the participants who took time from their busy work schedules to attend this workshop. With your support and cooperation, we will be adding another significant milestone the Bangsamoro Educational System and make a vital program work for the benefit of our communities, especially our children.
The MBHTE and the BARMM are keen on delivering what was promised in the Bangsamoro Organic Law, though gradually and strengthened by due diligence. And I hope all of you here will continue to support us in the new phase of our struggle for the people in the Bangsamoro.
Maraming Salamat po and Wassalam!