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Poor English blamed for low math, science marks of students

Gullas calls for reinforcement of English in schools on International Day of Education

Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas is convinced that English is not being taught effectively in elementary and high schools, and that this explains the dismal performance of Filipino students in global reading, math and science assessments.

“We have to go all out in reinforcing English as the medium of instruction in all school levels,” Gullas said on the occasion of International Day of Education, which celebrates the right of every child to go to school and learn.

“Poor English reading and comprehension skills have handicapped our students in math and science,” Gullas, an educator, said.

“Our math and science manuals are in English, so learning becomes hard if the student has deficient English,” Gullas said.

“Clearly, a student who cannot readily understand English will have difficulty solving math or physics problems couched in English,” Gullas pointed out.

Gullas urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to draw up a plan to boost the teaching of English in schools.

“DepEd should devote more funds to improve the English language skills of all classroom teachers,” Gullas said, adding that the department has an annual budget for in-service training.

“If necessary, all our future professional teachers – those taking up Bachelor of Elementary Education and Bachelor of Secondary Education – should be required to take additional units in English, regardless of their area of concentration,” Gullas said.

“We must embrace English, which is the world’s lingua franca and the language business and technology. Our schools should enable young Filipinos to master the language,” Gullas said.

Gullas warned that young Filipinos who fail to master English risk getting marginalized in the lucrative job markets of the future.

In the recent Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), Grade 4 students from the Philippines recorded the lowest scores among participants from 58 countries.

In the previous Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), 15-year-olds from the Philippines also performed the worst among 79 countries in reading literacy and second lowest in both mathematical and scientific literacy. (Vina de Guzman)