Save the Children Promotes Mother Tongue-Based Teaching in Mindanao

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By using the language they speak at home, 
the pupils participate well and are more confident to speak up
 because they are not required to speak 
in an unfamiliar language," 
says Teacher Mildred.

In a region where diverse culture and languages flourish, the use of Filipino and English as primary language of instruction may pose serious challenges to students who do not speak or understand the language. Statistics would show that an average Filipino student in the 6th grade could barely master 60% of learning content and competencies expected of them.  However, studies indicate that the use of mother tongue or first language as medium of instruction in primary education helps students learn and perform better in school and allow them to easily learn new languages. 

In a partners congress held at Koronadal City last May 14, 2015, the Department of Education (DepEd) reaffirms its commitment to mother tongue-based multilingual education with local government units, civil society and partner communities across South Central Mindanao.

Save the Children has been working with DepEd, local government units and Summer Language Institute (SIL) Philippines in promoting mother tongue-based multilingual education in 10 primary schools and 28 learning centers across South Central Mindanao. In the past three years, Save the Children and partners have been developing learning materials with communities as well as training teachers, government and school officials in teaching lessons according to local culture and language. 

Access to quality education for all does not only mean that children go to school everyday. It is equally important that children, regardless of cultural background, are able to learn in a language that they are familiar with. By learning in their mother tongue, children do not feel left out and are able to perform better in school," said Ned Olney, Country Director of Save the Children.


Mildred, a teacher from one of Save the Children's partner schools in Mindanao said “Understanding lessons is easier when these are explained in the language they are familiar with. They are also able to express themselves more freely if they have clarifications or things they want to share with the class.”


Save the Children is the world's leading independent organization for children, working in around 120 countries saving children's lives, fighting for their rights and helping them fulfill their potential.

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