Mar 16, 2008

From PDI: Beauty queen's English proof of sliding RP education - solon

OMG... Sorry. Just couldn't help thinking that it took a 17-year old "beauty queen" to re-expose the fact that something is darned wrong with the way our educational system is/isn't working. Here's a little food for thought: why not let her speak in the Miss World pageant in the lingua franca - Filipino? I mean, other Asian countries with the same or even lower English proficiency than the Philippines allow their representatives speak in their native tongue, while allowing a translator to express what the candidate wants to say? Hey, it does work for them, not to mention that it could ease the nerves that may originate from speaking in a non-native language (at least for some of the "beauty queens", who may not have the admirable level of English fluency to speak like a messiah). Then again, there's a real problem of language fluency that we are now required to deal with. Given the way that the Philippine economy and social structure are working today, can we really remain competitive in the global community? Can we really deal with having to field beauty queens who become the gaffe of the town?

My 2 cents. I hope that somehow, Janina will indeed be, the last laugh.

So, what's your opinion on this? P.S. I deliberately eliminated any and all discussions on English being the primary medium of discussion. IMO, that is one issue best left sa diskarte ng mga teacher... geographical education being my bias.
Beauty queen's English proof of sliding RP education--solon

By TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:03:00 03/15/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- If she were another Asian or European, beauty titlist Janina San Miguel could have gotten away with her English gaffe. But the trouble is, she's a Filipino, Cebu Representative Eduardo Gullas said Saturday.

"The truth is, if Ms San Miguel had been Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, or French, nobody would have cared about her awkward English. People would have totally ignored it. They would have excused her right away,'' Gullas said.

"But she is Filipino, and English is our highly favored second language. So people expected more from her,'' he added in a statement.

San Miguel, 17, has caused a stir with her awkward answer to a question in English during last week's Bb. Pilipinas Beauty Pageant, but still won the title of Bb. Pilipinas to represent the Philippines in the Miss World pageant.

Her gaffe has become the butt of jokes, and been featured on YouTube.

Gullas, principal author of a bill seeking to boost the Filipinos' English skills by reinstating English as the medium of instruction in all school levels, said he found the video "tormenting,'' but said the beauty titlist's gaffe was proof of the youth's declining proficiency in English.

Her sensational failure to answer a simple question in straight English "betrays the fading competence of a growing number of young Filipinos in the world's lingua franca,'' he said.

Citing India's experience, Gullas urged young Filipinos to master English, or risk getting left behind in the competition for high-paying jobs.

"Those who fail to acquire adequate English skills will be marginalized in the lucrative job markets of the future. If we look closely at India's recent economic boom, the Indians benefiting the most in terms of improved standards of living are mainly those with English skills. This is because they are the ones cornering the good-paying jobs," Gullas said.

"The Indians without English skills are the ones getting left behind economically. Without access to gainful employment, they remain mired in poverty, amid the economic boom there," he added.

Gullas's bill has been endorsed by 207 of 240 members of the House of Representatives.

The congressman, however, voiced confidence that San Miguel would improve her English before the Miss World pageant in November.

"She will recover quickly, no doubt about that. We wish her good luck," he said.

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority has offered a free crash course on English to future beauty pageant candidates.

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