The Department of Education (DepEd-7), the Akademiyang Binisaya Foundation (ABF) and the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) held a training workshop on multi-lingual education for elementary teachers recently at Casa Gorordo Museum in Cebu City in celebration of the National language Month or “Buwan ng Wika” this August.

The seminar dubbed “Translation of Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MLE) Competencies for Grade 1,” aimed to translate educational competencies for Grade 1 from English to Sinugbuanong Binisaya.

RAFI’s Culture and Heritage unit executive director, Dr. Jocelyn Gerra said this is part of the series of activities of DepEd-7, ABF and RAFI in preparation for the full-scale implementation of DepEd Order -74 or the Institutionalizing Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MLE).

The order required the use of the Sinugbuanong Binisaya which is the mother tongue in Region 7, part of Region 8, Masbate, and the majority of the Provinces in Mindanao, as the medium of instruction in the preparatory schools and in Grades I, 2 and 3 of the elementary level.
The participants of the workshop are Grade 1 teachers from the various public schools of the Municipality of Cordova, Cebu.

It was also attended by Dr. Carmelita Dulangon representing DepEd 7 and Cordova Municipal Mayor Adelino Sitoy, a strong advocate for preservation and enhancement of the Sinugbuanong Binisaya language and president of the Akademiyang Binisaya Foundation (ABF).

Dr. Romeo Macan, a professor from the Cebu Normal University (CNU) and a member of ABF facilitated the training.

“Hopefully, we could produce a template on the competencies in the mother tongue to be used by all schools throughout the Central Visayas,” Macan said.

According to Macan, notable studies, like the Lingua Franca Project, show that pupils learn to read more quickly when taught in their first language.

Students who have learned to read and write in their first language learn more quickly than those who are taught in their second language, this is learned, Macan added.

According to Dr. Gerra, DepEd-7 and ABF have been working on a standardized orthography (spelling) of Sinugbuanong Binisaya for the development of instructional materials in the language with a special priority on beginning reading and children’s literature.

“The essential function that language plays in all societies is that of communication. Communication is important because it is the primary vehicle through which culture is shared and transmitted,” Gerra concluded.

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