Opinion

English deficiency in the Philippine education

A long time ago, the Philippines was regarded to be best in among its neighboring Asian countries when it comes to English proficiency. History would tell us that when the Americans colonized our country, English language was introduced to the Filipinos by the Thomasites. Did you Ever wonder why our great grandparents can speak English fluently although they only finished elementary education? Thanks to Americans who did only give the Filipinos the taste of Carne Norte and Levi’s 501, they instilled the value of education and their language.

When we were freed from the bondage of Uncle Sam, he left behind among Filipinos the mark which we thought all the while would remain; to be nurtured and developed.

However, we really can’t tell the twist of faith. Then being looked up to the best in Asia and the rest of world, it’s glory is beginning to fade now. The countries whose citizens mumble when talking in English are now starting to overshadow the Filipinos. In other words, English proficiency in the country is apparently declining. In fact, a recent study revealed that the Philippines is not anymore the top one English-speaking country in Asia. As a result, Filipinos who seek for high-paying jobs usually ended up doing menial jobs. For those who wanted to work in a call center, the report showed that only 5 out of 100 applicants could qualify for the job. A sad reality indeed.

Who are to be blamed for the sad plight of the Philippine education specifically in terms of English proficiency? Many factors may be considered in the declining of English proficiency among Filipinos. It can be the teacher factor sometimes. Teachers have to be competent enough in teaching the language to facilitate the communication skill of the students, both oral and written. Otherwise, we cannot expect the students to be competent in using English which is common even among the college students.

It can also be students factor. If they want to master the use of the language, they should help themselves by using it regularly when inside the school premises. They should do self-study in such a way,  their skills will eventually improve or enhance.

As a journalism instructor, I am a hypocrite if I say that all of my students have perfected the use of English language. There are those who need polishing whose written outputs shall we say are somewhat tolerable. But then again, there are still few who find it hard to express themselves orally.

We, in the academe, really dream to produce A1 graduates who can compete globally. With the stiff competition among job seekers, only those with superb academic background usually survived. Only those who can fluently express themselves during the interview can bring home the bacon. Thus, to master the English language is the key to reach your dreams. In BPO for example, it is like you are working abroad but living in the Philippines.

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