Cebu governor wants 'English only' policy in all schools in the province

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Cebu (CNN Philippines, December 17) — Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said she wants all basic subjects to be taught in English in all schools in the provinces, following poor ratings in reading comprehension and other subjects among Filipino children.

Garcia said that she wants to go back to the time when English was being used for class lectures, citing the "embarassing" rating achieved by Filipino schoolchildren. She added that students can learn and use their native tongue, Cebuano, at home.

The Philippines ranked the lowest in reading comprehension and second lowest in science and mathematics among 79 countries covered by the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment, a global survey headed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Results showed that one in four students is unable to complete even the most basic reading tasks.

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Garcia got the Provincial School Board to agree to the language policy during their December 13 meeting. The new rule is slated for implementation starting school year 2020-2021.

The governor said that the use of English as the primary language of instruction has worked before and should not have been changed in the first place. She added that other countries are trying to raise more English speakers while Filipinos are "trying to forget English."

She said students get confused as they first attend classes taught in their mother tongue until Grade 3, Filipino from Grades 4 to 6, and eventually, in English from Grade 7 onwards.

Garcia added that she will ask the school board to implement the "English only" policy until someone files a case to stop her from doing so.