Kudos to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for FINALLY junking Tagalog!

Long overdue! The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) memo directing the removal of Tagalog (a.k.a. “Filipino”) as a mandatory subject in the Philippines’ General Education Curriculum (GEC) effectively frees millions of Filipinos from wasting time on a dead-end field of learning. On implementation of the directive, the subject will be relegated to Grades 11 and 12 of the K-12 curriculum.

The CHED, it seems, applied the right thinking in making this move…

The CHED justified its removal of college-level Filipino by saying that the subject would be covered in Grades 11 and 12 under the new K-12 curriculum. “Hangga’t maari, pagdating mo sa college, mga major subjects na lang,” explained CHED Executive Director Julito Vitriolo.

[NB: Translation of Tagalog parts of the above excerpt: “As much as possible, time spent in college must be accounted for by major subjects.”]

The Philippines' Tagalog tribes' command over the national language is slipping.
The Philippines’ Tagalog tribes’ command over the national language is slipping.
Way back in 2000 in GRP’s infancy, I had already strongly advocated removal of Tagalog as a mandatory part of Filipinos’ education. The business case simply does not stack up. For the amount of scarce educational resources the imparting of Tagalog proficiency in the Filipino takes up, the language presents no added value to a person’s marketability in an increasingly competitive race for scarce employment. Suffice to say, most of the plum jobs are reserved for the best English communicators.

Much of the arguments against the CHED memo being fielded by various stakeholders revolve around an appeal to tradition, “national identity”, and the fate of the jobs of up to 30,000 professors who make a living teaching Tagalog.

These really are all non-issues disguised as, well, issues. With the jobs thing, it really just comes down to the same argument one would encounter if we were to replace the Philippines’ decrepit public transport infrastructure with modern public bus and train services. Hundreds of thousands of jeepney drivers will lose their jobs. But the benefit as a whole over the long run will far compensate for that minor hitch. Same banana. If you want to build a new building on a piece of land, you need to detonate the old structure standing on it.

As to the cultural heritage and “national identity” thing, well, both of those can’t really be served on a banana leaf to a hungry Filipino and her eight kids. Putting that in Tagalog will make that simple concept resonate more strongly:

Di yan nakakain.

There you go, Tagalog has its uses — mainly when one is communicating with other Tagalog speakers. The thing is, most of the people who comprise the organisations and entities that control the capital Filipinos are desperately dependent on for their daily bread aren’t Tagalog speakers. So the fate of Tagalog as a resource-guzzling part of the Philippines’ education system can be decided using simple business sense. The numbers simply don’t stack up.

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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46 Comments on "Kudos to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for FINALLY junking Tagalog!"

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John Nieurzyla
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The analogy to the jeepney drivers is false, yes if they were replaced, then who will be the new drivers? these will be the old drivers, those that failed to learn and pass the driving tests, well lets hope they will start do that??? also the new vehicles will still need to be maintained, so their is plenty work.

FrustratedBystander
Guest

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a 1-1 replacement of drivers. Jeepneys and not-well-maintained public buses can be replaced by mass transit options such as trains or organized and professionally run organizations that actually cater to serve the public and not earn money for earnings sake.

Robert Haighton
Guest
Dear Benign0, In almost all cases I do agree with your Blogs. But on this occassion I do not agree with you. I am just projecting your statement on my own country and it wont be accepted here for sure. If I translate your statement, it looks like I have to talk English in my own home with my own Dutch sisters, Dutch friends and who not. By itself that looks ridiculous & bizarre. On a bigger global scale, I am all for it to both educate one’s mother tongue (language) and at least one foreign language. In my country,… Read more »
Peace Walker
Guest
But this means it still has to be taught at the elementary and secondary level, correct? I’ve read studies on that children who pack decent starting vernacular at young learning age tend to do better in learning and academics than those who were used to local vernacular than those who are made to outright jump into English without some competency in local vernacular by miles. They all had a conmon rationale: local language, like say, Tagalog, can be bridged by English to the higher learning fields. What can be translated sensibly from the fields for backwards compatibility with local languages… Read more »
Felipe
Guest
It still can be taken as an elective, but considering the need to improve skills that would benefit the country the most (or kids, later in their professional lives), I think we need to put more emphasis on fields such as science and technology in which Pilipino or Tagalog are not the most effective in conveying their key ideas. There are languages that put one at an advantage over the rest when it comes to learning certain fields or bodies of knowledge—Learning in these areas become easier, when proficiency in their specialized terminology, etymological origins, etc. are also learned (e.g.… Read more »
Peace Walker
Guest
Not a career choice, it was mostly an attempt of encouragement from my English professor to join an essay contest for the UN languages competition. We had to write an essay regarding language and how it helps in fulfilling the UN’s goals, but we are not allowed to write it in any of the six UN languages. Schoolwork ate my time, but the readings I took up helped me think of this. Funnily enough, last election, I remember reading Teddy Casiño’s platform on edycation, focusing on nationalist elements and scientific endeavor, and encouragement of using the mother tongue as a… Read more »
Thom Hardy
Guest

I’ve never attempted to learn either of the Filipino languages. They seemed as if made up by children.I mean, WTF does UMMA-LAY-LAY even mean? and,OMG, why wouldn’t any person who says that word not feel like an idiot?
Make Spanish or English the national language and it would be a step up internationally.

bienb
Guest

Actually, they should make it so that Pilipino, English, Algebra, Trigonometry, Chemistry, English,and Theology (when applicable) should be done when you finish high school. Along with Spanish, these are time consuming general subjects we had to take in college which we should have been taught already beforehand.

Toro Hyden
Guest

Tagalog can be taught in Elementary ang high School. On the College level; foreign languages should be offered as Electives, like: Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, German, Italian, Arabic, etc…

It is good to learn and know several foreign languages…it is a plus on your resume…

anon
Guest
While I’m not sure the language should totally go the way Latin did, one can’t deny the limiting use of Tagalog. As it is now, a sentence can’t be done without two or three borrowed words in English which makes it redundant in academia. Somehow you gotta address the technical jargon but there really is no equivalent to it in Tagalog so the English term just ends up jammed in between the local vernacular. Nevermind the fact that reading tagalog online is cringey no matter who wrote it. Add the fact that it just doesn’t sound pleasing to the ear.… Read more »
Jasper
Guest

Finally! If only I was still a student. Back then in grade school they had us study Philippine history in Tagalog and I didn’t get it. One day I gave up and just read Agoncillo’s History of the Filipino People and I finally understood it.

Dave
Guest

How about next they dump the general, irrelevant subjects from university courses so students have more time to devote to their actual majors? Not having to waste time on art or Filipino literature units when you’re studying a science, for example.

College here looks more like high school and doesn’t seem designed to produce specialists, but rather uncompetitive all-rounders.

Ian Sarmiento
Guest

Right!!

Carmichael
Guest

I’m not happy about this but as long as they still teach Tagalog, or any of the local dialects, in elementary and high school then sure.

Though still Taglish isn’t really Tagalog so there.

and dang, all the hate I’m seeing from the comments is just bothersome. Guess it never matter to a country with no sense of identity as long as ends meet.

Henry Delgado
Guest

It’s just so pathetic to assume that to be globally competitive, we need to be fluent in English.

Philippines has too many English-speakers & can’t speak Tagalog fluently but are so stupid.

Carmichael
Guest

That seems to be the idea they’re going into. It’s like so you speak great English what else can you do?

and doesn’t it get to people when we brag about how skillful and talented our people are and yet our home country isn’t doing so well? Sure blame the government and all but it’s not like they got there by their own.

Henry Delgado
Guest

Our English curriculum is enough. We don’t need more. But I think we need more for our native language, to preserve our culture.

For sure, only a handful of Filipinos now can compose essay written in Tagalog. There will always be English mixed w/ it. I confess.

Taglish is a sign of lost identity.

vibeit
Guest

Why not let the true tagalog speakers compose those things. Besides, not all Filipinos are true Tagalog speakers. You can’t force an Ilocano speaker to write a Tagalog piece. He’d rather write something in Ilocano which can contribute more to him and his people when self-identity and preservation of culture are concerned.

Carmichael
Guest

“Taglish is a sign of lost identity.”

I’d never thought I see this here and kudos to you sir.

Caesar Anthony E. Yoma
Guest
Caesar Anthony E. Yoma
Sir, in terms of profession and economic advantages, I’m all in for proficiency in English. We need to, it is a life-skill, a necessity to compete in the global stage. But to say that we Filipinos no longer need to study OUR OWN LANGUAGE because it doesn’t stack up is tantamount to belligerence to being Filipino. It is not only a spoken language, it represents our very identity, our pedigree: the culture, literature, our history, our humble beginning as a nation, of familial ties and pride rooted in being particularly someone in this world. We have to perceive our own… Read more »
Carmichael
Guest
I got to say I agree with you there about the unecessities of learning the language due to that it barely exist now..taglish ain’t Tagalog no matter how we look at it. It’s not like Katakana in Japanese where loaned words is still Japanese..I could hope that scholars would improve Tagalog being taught to elementary and high school so that it improves the language..Leave the study of Filipino to the scholars but that doesn’t mean we should avoid and hate it…so yeah I agree. I’d really worry more if they remove it altogether. Going with the last statement you can’t… Read more »
Mye
Guest

This is good news. When I was still studying, Pilipino subject is where we waste time writing on the notebooks while copying from any Tagalog books. Meaning, just to get the time pass by. Tagalog subjects are really not that important. Our teachers will just let us sit on our desk and pretend she is teaching and pretend that we are reading.

rieljean
Guest

hindi naman siguro dapat alisin ang Filipino subject sa kolehiyo dahil hindi naman lahat ayaw nito.. kung tatanggalin ito para narin tinaggal ang karapatan ng lahat ng Pilipino na namulat at nakagisnan na ang pag gamit nito. para narin tinanggal nito ang karapatan ng Pilipino na matuto at i.preserba ang sariling atin.. dapat parin itong ituro sa kolehiyo dahil kung tutuusin mas tinatangkilik na ng mga Pilipino ang Ingles at iba pang akademikong aralin. kaya hindi dapit tanggalin ang pagtuturo ng Pilipino sa Kolehiyo.

Aegis-Judex
Guest

And what is said “sariling atin” isn’t sariling atin? I, for example, am a Cebuano with English as his mother tongue. By your logic, that would make me a traitor, amirite?

borg
Guest

From what I understood way back my teacher in grade school once said, “Filipino is a subject that deals with the local dialect.” Now I wonder why it was always “Tagalog” Now what about Kapangpangan, Bisaya, Ilongo, Ilocano and all sorts of dialects why aren’t those guys who are talking about cultural identity not even mentioning about learning them? Where’s your national pride? What I am just saying is there is enough time to learn all that crap in high school. College should prepare students for real life.

Tugas Haligi
Guest

I was born, raised, and trained in the Philippines. I speak Cebuano and English but not Tagalog. By the definition of these “nationalists” I’m not Filipino enough. WTF?

Tariq Aziz
Guest

what makes Filipino difficult for non-tagalogs is that, it disguised as “Filipino” when in fact it is Tagalog. What if we require Tagalogs to take Bicol language in college? What would they do? what would they feel? Regionalism is an issue in building a true national language.

TroLLoLoL
Guest

Fact: The Failippines is the most ethnolinguistically homogenous country in the world. It has only 1 indigenous ethnolinguistic group, and only 1 indigenous language.

“I am a Tangalogista Fliptard. The K.W.F. is my favourite God. I migrated here so I could linguicide your language.”

mark tan
Guest

if you don’t learn tagalog it’s no big deal, but if you don’t learn english you’re screwed for life.

Tagaroogsuprema
Guest

Tagalog tribes? when was the last time a Tagalog ruled the country?