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Are Filipinos losing their English proficiency?

  
Culture, Style, Fashion and Home Thread, Are Filipinos losing their English proficiency? in Culture, Lifestyle, Relationship and Family; Is Filipinos' English getting worse and worse? Many say that the Philippines, as an English speaking country, has been deteriorating. ...
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Old 08-21-2010, 05:27 AM
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Exclamation Are Filipinos losing their English proficiency?

Is Filipinos' English getting worse and worse?

Many say that the Philippines, as an English speaking country, has been deteriorating.

While English is an official language along with Tagalog, the balance apparently has shifted to Tagalog. English seems to be used less and less in education, media and entertainment. While nothing wrong for us to stick to our native tongue, the decline of our proficiency in English is something we should avoid.

Our neighboring country Malaysia is increasingly becoming more proficient in English along with their native languages, unfortunately Philippines seems to be heading to an anti-English direction. Over the past two decades, our public education has downgraded English instruction, which certainly directly contributed to the decline of our English proficiency. And, the decline of our English proficiency came at the worst possible time when other countries were trying to improve their English proficiency in order to benefit from the economic and trade globalization.

Aren't we seeing an alarming number of people in the Philippines who are not fluent in English at all?

If this trend continues, how much English our future generation is going to speak?

What should we do to reshape our English eduction system?

Your thoughts?

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  #2  
Old 08-21-2010, 05:41 AM
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Default Re: Are Filipinos losing their English proficiency?

Yes we are. However English is still valued as a very important skill and pre-requisite for professionals:


75% of employers reject applicants with poor English

By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) August 13, 2010

MANILA, Philippines - Three quarters of the country’s employers turn down job applicants with poor English, according to one of the country’s leading job search sites.

JobStreet general manager Grace Colet said studies showed 75 percent of employers had turned down jobseekers with a poor command of English, and 97 percent believed those with good English were also more productive.

“It is important that a jobseeker has command of the English language,” Colet said.

Employers were alarmed by the increasing popularity of the “jejemon” culture in the country, a social phenomenon where liberties are taken with basic grammar and spelling to the point of incoherence, she said.

“This new trend which started with text messages and social media
sites is seen to encourage erroneous use of language, which can have dire implications on one’s job prospects.”


In response to employers’ demands for better English usage at work
, JobStreet recently launched an English Language Assessment (ELA) program to determine jobseekers’ command of the language, Colet said. The 20-minute test comprises 40 questions on conversation, grammar, vocabulary and comprehension.

Jobseekers can take this assessment once every three months.

“Within the first few months of its launch in late 2009, more than 200,000 jobseekers in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries have taken the JobStreet ELA,” Colet said.

Eighty-six percent of employers said the ELA helped them shortlist candidates, while 60 percent of jobseekers said ELA helped strengthen their chances of getting job offers, Colet said.

“But aside from relevant programs that facilitate better usage of the English language, the development must begin with oneself. With simple tasks like SMS (short messaging system), chatting, and daily conversations, the use of the vernacular such as ‘jejemon’ must be minimized. The practice of perfecting English, after all, may earn jobseekers the dream job they have always wanted.”
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Old 08-21-2010, 06:52 AM
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Default Re: Are Filipinos losing their English proficiency?

From New York Times:
English getting lost in translation in Philippines

By Carlos H. Conde
August 13, 2007

MANILA — "We grow our hogs in our own farms so you're sure to get meat that is grown."

"The city's voice is soft like solitudes."

"He found his friend clowning himself around."

"He seemed to be waiting for someone, not a blood relation, much less a bad blood."

Such phrases, lifted from government-approved textbooks used in Filipino public schools, are reinforcing fears that crucial language skills are degenerating in a country that has long prided itself on having some of the world's best English speakers. At a time when English is widely considered an advantage in global competitiveness for any country, many fear this former U.S. colony is slipping.

English is an official language here, along with the native Tagalog. Yet the U.S. State Department, in its "2007 Investment Climate Statement," released this month, concluded: "English-language proficiency, while still better than in other Southeast Asian nations, is declining in the Philippines."

For years now, Antonio Calipjo Go, an academic and a supervisor of the Marian School of Quezon City, a private school here, has waged a campaign against bad textbook English.

"I pity our children who are being fed these errors," Go said in an interview. "This is one of the reasons why the level of education in our country is worsening."

Go says he has notified the Philippine Department of Education of dozens of English-language errors in all seven approved social studies textbooks. In January, he testified at a Senate hearing on the subject. And he has written to the World Bank, which has granted an 800 million peso, or $17.5 million, loan to the Philippines government for textbooks.

But when the new school year opened in June, the books were unchanged.

So Go took out advertisements in newspapers detailing the errors. In July, he paid for a full page in the country's largest-circulation newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, enumerating errors in two textbooks.

He titled the ad "Learnings for make benefit glorious nation of Philippines," after the movie "Borat," whose title character has a less-than-perfect grasp of English.

"I do not wish to pick a fight with anybody," Go declared in his ad. "I only know that if I kept this to myself, the errors that have been in these books all these years will continue to harm the hearts and minds of more generations of Filipino schoolchildren. The errors must be corrected. Now."

Go estimates that more than 75 percent of all elementary textbooks in public schools contain errors.

"And I am being kind with that estimate," he said. Aside from the linguistic errors, he finds other aspects problematic, pointing out a textbook that extols the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Go has been sued for libel by two textbook authors and a publisher, though the lawsuit of the publisher, Phoenix Publishing, has been dismissed. He is undeterred. "I refuse to accept that we cannot do something to solve problems like this," he said in the interview. "I cannot accept that."

Go is far from the only person worried about textbook errors and the deterioration of English skills in the Philippines.

Business chambers, foreign and domestic, have voiced concern that the decreasing quality of English could hurt the country's competitiveness. Three years ago, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines launched a campaign called "English is cool!" to address this deterioration.

Last year, the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce of the Philippines, in a workshop on how to increase foreign investment in the country, identified "improved English proficiency" as a key area that needed improvement.

The U.S. State Department, in its recent report, said the "the comparative advantages the Philippines once enjoyed vis-à-vis its neighbors in attracting foreign investment need to be restored in order to attract more investment and support higher growth."

One reason English proficiency, or its lack, has received so much attention here is because of the call-center boom and the fact that Filipino workers with a good command of the language stand a better chance of being recruited for jobs abroad.

For years, foreign governments, particularly the United States, and donor agencies like the World Bank have been providing assistance to the Philippine educational system, and some of the programs have involved the production of textbooks. This month, Australia announced that it was giving a $10 million loan to Manila to improve basic education.

Educators do not deny a problem with the quality of English in textbooks and instruction, but point out that there are other, perhaps more pressing, problems in the schools.

Among these are poor skills in science and math; the lack of teachers, many of whom are being recruited abroad for higher pay; a lack of equipment; and overcrowded classrooms, with some holding nearly 100 students.

Some critics say that the Education Department itself is part of the problem. The Senate hearings in January focused not only on the poor quality of textbooks, but on allegations that the process of bidding for textbook contracts is flawed, with a small cartel of publishers controlling 75 percent of the contracts.

Last month, in response to Go's ads, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus issued a statement saying that the department had implemented stringent measures to improve the quality of textbooks.

He said he had banned those who evaluated the error-filled textbooks from future book projects. An oversight committee has also been created to address issues concerning these textbooks.

On Monday, Franklin Sunga, an under secretary of education, predicted that the situation would improve. "There will be a new batch of English textbooks soon and we hope that these errors will not be repeated."

He said the department was improving its evaluation of these books, contracting the services, for instance, of academics and evaluators from the country's top universities and colleges.
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Old 08-21-2010, 07:00 AM
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Default Re: Are Filipinos losing their English proficiency?

This article from Planet Philippines says the decline of English proficiency in the Philippines has helped make Malaysia the No. 1 in English proficiency in Asia:

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY IS KEY TO LANDING A JOB

2/21/2010 By Pepper Marcelo
It used to be that the Philippines’ biggest competitive advantage in the global job market is the proficiency of our skilled workers in the English language. This advantage, however, is fast being eroded by rising competition from other countries coupled with declining mastery of the English language by our college graduates.

Recent language test results released by the IDP Education Pty. Ltd. Philippines, an accredited group that administers the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to Filipinos seeking to work and migrate abroad, showed that the Philippines is no longer the top English-speaking country in Asia.

With an overall score of 6.71, Malaysia is now the No. 1 in English proficiency in Asia. The Philippines placed only second with 6.69, followed by Indonesia (5.99), India (5.79) and Thailand (5.71). This was gleaned from IELTS results in 2008, during which some 35,000 Filipinos — 70 percent of them nursing graduates applying for jobs abroad — took the language exam to evaluate their English proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening.

During a conference on English organized by the Centre for International Education (CIE) in Manila, Andrew King, country director of IDP Education Pty. Ltd. Philippines warned that the continuous decline in Filipinos’ English proficiency could affect the growth of the call center industry which provides thousands of jobs at home and abroad.

English still rules
In an interview with Planet Philippines, King stressed that English remains the lingua franca or default language of international business and diplomacy.

“Things like international treaties, business contracts and so on, are written in English, because it’s an exact language,” he says. “You have to have people that can speak, read and write it well. To operate at high levels, you need very good English.”

He states that employers in today’s global market want people that have not only international experience and good qualifications that are recognized all over the world but also high proficiency in spoken and written English. “English has less elasticity and flexibility so you can say exactly what you want to say and not argue about the meaning. If you get your tenses, plurals and prepositions wrong, then you’re not going to be accurate.”

He adds: “Here and around the world, people are asking for better competency in English. Being able to get by is not enough.”

King says proficiency in English is a huge advantage for every job seeker, even those who have no plans of working overseas. Foreign companies in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, he notes, locally administer their contracts in English. “A foreign company won’t enter into a contract that’s not of their language.”

For business consultant Peter Wallace, who also spoke at the CIE English conference, comprehension is the problem. “Do you understand what you’re hearing? Do you understand what it means when you say that? These are the issues.”

BOP takes action

The biggest obstacle for the ever-growing BPO industry sector is recruiting enough capable graduates with the required English skills. Industry observers estimate that only three in every 100 applicants are able to gain satisfactory employment. In certain cases, the BPO industry has taken it upon themselves to train prospective employees so that company growth will not be impeded.

“The formal educational system is hard-pressed to train young Filipinos in proper grammatical English, so the private sector has taken the lead,” says Frank Holz, CEO of Outsource2Philippines.
Observers have attributed the decline in English skills to budgetary constraints and lack of proper infrastructure in the country’s educational system.“In fairness, the Department of Education is trying its best, but unfortunately, this generation of teachers does not have the capability,” says Wallace.

King attributes the decline in English to the poor quality and training of local schoolteachers, as well as the continuing use of outdated or erroneous textbooks. “Students are not being taught correct English and the resources and materials they’re given is incorrect.”

Bilingual policy

Another problem, and a continuing topic of debate, has been the educational system’s bilingual policy, adopted 35 years ago which compels schools to use English and Filipino as medium of instruction. “People use the excuse that there’s ‘Filipino English.’ Filipino English is English as long as it’s correct. If it’s incorrect English, it doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s just being an apologist for people’s mistakes is wrong,” King points out.

The incorrect use of the language on local TV newscasts and English-dubbed cartoons, also contributes to the decline in English proficiency among Filipinos. “Everyday, on virtually all television and newspapers, you hear incorrect use of prepositions,” adds King.

He cites the words “in” and “on” as examples. “You hear the car was driving on the lane, which would mean on top of, rather than in, as in within the two lines.”

He also blames technology such as the internet and SMS messaging (texting) on cell phones, which favors speed and levity but fosters poor written skills. “We use abbreviations in chat rooms, and we have created a whole new language, and texting on cell phones has created a short language.”

Even cultural prejudice and ignorance is an issue, King laments. “Snobbery – you’re a snob if you speak English. No, you’re a person that’s committed to learn more than one language.”

Gov’t response

In response to IDP’s released test results, the government assures that it remains committed to improving the quality of teachers in the Philippines, particularly in public schools. Malacañang cites a number of ongoing projects to improve the English proficiency of teachers and students in public schools, such as the “Project Turning Around,” “Every Child A Reader Program,” and the National English Proficiency Program. Officials also said the government is allotting P1.1 billion to train nearly 400,000 teachers in Math, Science and English skills.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Augusto Santos said he brought up the problem during one Cabinet meeting and top government officials agreed to do something about it.

“We are part of the global community and there is economic competition among countries in the world. Let’s face it, English is still the number one language in the entire world,” said Santos.
King says that the problem could be traced to the prevailing social and political conditions in the country. “One of the issues is that there are too many children for teachers to cope with. You can go back to population control, so there are so many that you can’t manage within the education system. But that’s a whole different argument.”

One possible solution he suggests is to import external people to analyze the English curriculum and resources, and try to identify the issues that are affecting the ability to communicate accurately.

Another solution, adds Holz, is to use the internet in English training. “More work needs to be done on this, but eventually there won’t be as great a reliance on instructor-led training,” he says. “Rather the entire process from assessment through delivery through final validation will be able to be done online.”

Whatever the solution, King says it’s going to take time. “You’re not going to magically turn around a generation of people whose English has been taught incorrectly.”

Last edited by tollbros : 08-21-2010 at 07:03 AM.
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  #5  
Old 08-21-2010, 08:10 AM
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Default Re: Are Filipinos losing their English proficiency?

Maybe we went little too far patronizing our own rich heritage and native languages. English is becoming a foreign language in the Philippines.
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Old 08-21-2010, 08:16 AM
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Default Re: Are Filipinos losing their English proficiency?

Quote:
Recent language test results released by the IDP Education Pty. Ltd. Philippines, an accredited group that administers the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to Filipinos seeking to work and migrate abroad, showed that the Philippines is no longer the top English-speaking country in Asia.

With an overall score of 6.71, Malaysia is now the No. 1 in English proficiency in Asia. The Philippines placed only second with 6.69, followed by Indonesia (5.99), India (5.79) and Thailand (5.71). This was gleaned from IELTS results in 2008, during which some 35,000 Filipinos — 70 percent of them nursing graduates applying for jobs abroad — took the language exam to evaluate their English proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
This surprises me. I mean Indonesia is ahead of India?
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:11 AM
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Default Re: Are Filipinos losing their English proficiency?

An old news report that tells about the English proficiency of Filipinos:

RP sailors' English sounds Greek to Norwegian firm

By Vincent Cabreza Inquirer News Nov 04, 2005

BAGUIO CITY - When a Norwegian shipping company complains that it can no longer understand the English spoken by Filipino recruits, the country has a big problem.

Labor Undersecretary Danilo Cruz said new job markets were not hiring Filipino workers because they failed in basic English proficiency. Their spoken English, he said, was also too throaty for the world of business.

Cruz shared this information on Thursday with a batch of students training for jobs in call centers and medical transcription firms here.

Major reforms are needed to address the inability of Filipino students to be understood overseas, according to the labor official.

"This is a long-term process for change because we can only replenish the labor force with [better skilled English speakers] after 10 years," he said.

Cruz said Malacañang was planning a summit to establish a uniform policy on the use of English in schools and in the workplace. The summit will seek to evaluate the instructional materials and the business impact of Filipino English on the world markets.

"We used to be the third largest English-speaking nation" but outsourcing industries like call centers and medical transcription operators failed to even hire the 100,000 they expected to employ from the Philippines in 2005, Cruz said.

American firms stationed in India, a former British colony with a big English-speaking work force, have been tapping Filipino workers because they expected them to have an American accent, according to the labor undersecretary.

"Indian speakers just can't remove their accent," he said.

But feedback from the job markets shows that "we are disappointing" new employers, he said.

"This is not only true of the outsourcing industries. It's the effect we have on other job markets."

Because of the complaint of the Norwegian shipping company, the government is looking into the teaching methods and curricula at more than 3,000 merchant marine schools in the country.

"Many of these schools are actually of poor quality," Cruz said. He noted that the complaints involved recent graduates.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filo View Post
Maybe we went little too far patronizing our own rich heritage and native languages. English is becoming a foreign language in the Philippines.
Nationalism plays an important part in this shift of trend and decline of English proficiency.

Among some Filipinos there's a notion that they more Tagalog you speak, the more Filipino you are, and hence the more patriotic you are.

So by the same notion, if we kicked the Americans out of Subic and Clark, we would be a more independent country, and we would be more proud of Filipinos. We did kick them out, but there are now more Filipinos than ever wanting to go to America.
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Old 08-23-2010, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: Are Filipinos losing their English proficiency?

An article years ago on Manila Bulletin and it addressed nationalism as a factor:

English is not only for call centers – DepEd

By SHIANEE MAMANGLU

EDUCATION Officer-in-Charge Dr. Fe Hidalgo on Monday said that the English language is not being intensified for call centers but as the language of information technology.


Reacting to an earlier call from Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas to restore English as the country’s medium of instruction to attract employment overseas, primarily the booming call center markets, Hidalgo said DepEd has been promoting English as a medium of instruction in public schools, except in the two subject areas — Filipino and Makabayan.

"We’re concerned that there is the need to really improve our proficiency. We’ve started intensifying the use of English. Today, a majority of the subject areas are taught in English except for those two subjects," Hidalgo said in an interview.


ANTI-FILIPINO?

She agreed that the Filipino’s skill in English have diminished over the years thus the need to enhance it. But she expressed belief that this is not to set aside nationalism.

"When you speak English, it doesn’t mean you love your country less. We cannot set aside nationalism, we always emphasize nationalism," the Education official said.

Sto. Tomas asked DepEd recently to "set aside nationalism and restore English as the country’s medium of instruction" in the name of employment.

According to her, only five to 10 are accepted out of every 100 call center applicants today because of poor English skills particularly on communication.

She also blamed the use of "Taglish" (Tagalog & English) by young professionals to low hiring rate in call centers.

The DOLE chief said that if Filipinos can improve its English proficiency soon enough it can become the top. Currently, the Philippines is the second leading labor market for the global call center industry, next to India.

Hidalgo said that DepEd will be concentrating (more) on intensifying the training of teachers to improve their proficiency in the English language this year.

"Our objective is to intensify teacher training particularly on communication, and on how to teach. We also have a training program in the regions on how to teach reading effectively."

The DepEd’s School Mentoring Program, which seeks to train to mentor teachers is another project that promotes the English proficiency. In the last few years, over 60, 000 teachers across the country have been trained.

Under its national reading program, DepEd also promotes functional literacy to make every student read and understand what they read.

Hidalgo said that student’s reading comprehension should be enhanced starting at Grade 3.

DepEd is also looking into the possibility of obliging incoming or new teachers to take another examination that will test their proficiency in English on top of the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET).

It is also planning to require old teachers to undergo a seminar on English, math and science for the same purpose
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