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    Posted August 18, 2014 by
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    First Person: Your essays

    Strangers to their own land

    Last 2013, the Philippines' Commission on Higher Education proposed a new general education curriculum for the tertiary level, which removes all Filipino subjects in the curriculum of different colleges and universities. Their rationale for attempting to implement such kind of curriculum is because Filipino subjects would be taught anyway in Senior High School, so there would be no need to teach it in the tertiary level.

    Currently, there are still ongoing consultations to retain Filipino subjects being taught in college. If this proposed curriculum gets implemented, there can be several factors affected. First, the removal of the Filipino subjects can give our country a bad reputation in the eyes of foreign educational institutions. Knowing that Filipino is the national language, it doesn't make sense to abolish Filipino subjects in college. In fact, other countries use their own language in different aspects of their lives, and they were even able to intellectualize it in the sciences. The Filipino language, however, is still in the process of becoming intellectualized, and the least we Filipinos can do is to practice and use it responsibly. We have a lingering joke that we Filipinos commonly use our language as some sort of "kalye" or street language, or whenever we badmouth someone. We've grown used to treating our own national language as a colloquial language, when in reality it's not. Second, many college professors teaching Filipino would lose their jobs, and its not even certain that the government would fully support them. If they were to be displaced to other courses or subjects, they would not be fit for the job since they were trained for most part of their lives to teach Filipino. What's strange is that degree programs in Philippine Studies are rarely offered in the country, but under universities like De La Salle University are offering a Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Studies Major in Mass Media. That is a good start aready. Third, the proposed curriculum does not give justice to the teaching of Filipino in general. If the students were to be stripped off from Filipino subjects during college - the time where they're exposed to free and creative thinking unlike from high school - how then would we expect the Filipino language to become intellectualized in time? In high school, it's the same thing on how Filipino subjects are being taught. It's purely grammatical and structure-wise. Unlike in college, you're challenged to think and rethink what you have been doing right or wrong with regard to your use of the language.

    If there was one message I'm trying to bring across to everyone, it's that in order to progress more as a nation, we have to use a language that unifies and binds all of us. Never let yourselves be strangers to your own land.
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