On Thursday, Aug. 10, the Department of Education (DepEd) announced a significant revision to its K to 10 curriculum. The mother tongue, once regarded as a separate learning area or subject, has been removed in the newly introduced educational framework.
During the press briefing that followed the curriculum’s official launch, DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Michael Poa clarified, “What we removed was mother tongue as a subject but not mother tongue as a medium of instruction pursuant to the K to 12 law.”
The Bureau of Curriculum Development Director, Joyce Andaya, detailed the rationale behind the move. According to Andaya, the content taught in the mother tongue as a subject could be integrated or tackled in other learning areas.
However, the journey to this decision was not smooth. DepEd admitted to encountering several “issues” with the implementation of the mother tongue as a stand-alone subject. “Basically, the mother tongue as a subject has led to some confusion among teachers, particularly in the Luzon area,” elaborated Undersecretary for Curriculum and Teaching, Gina Gonong. In the existing framework, there’s a distinct separation between the Filipino subject and the Mother Tongue. Gonong pointed out the recurrent question from educators: “What’s the difference between the two subjects?”
Gonong attributes this prevailing “confusion” as one of the primary reasons leading to the exclusion of mother tongue as a subject in the revamped K to 10 curriculum.
This decision, however, did not go unnoticed by teachers’ associations. Before the revised curriculum’s official launch, educators and certain organizations expressed their concerns. The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines views the removal of the Mother Tongue subject as “counter-productive to learning,” emphasizing the critical role of the mother tongue in optimizing the home language as a potent instructional tool.
According to ACT, discarding the Mother Tongue as a subject may inadvertently complicate the learning recovery process.
Furthermore, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) proposes refining the implementation of the mother tongue as a subject rather than discontinuing it altogether.
DepEd has relayed that the MATATAG K to 10 Curriculum will undergo a pilot testing phase this year, paving the way for its full-scale introduction in the forthcoming academic year.