Press Release
May 26, 2006


Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, filed Senate Resolution 486 directing the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture to conduct and inquiry into the alleged substandard English skills of Filipino college graduates, with the end view of recommending policy measures to address the rapid decline in Filipinos English competency.

I am alarmed because we are not only losing our competency in mathematics and science but also in spoken and written English. The Filipinos proficiency in these areas used to be the envy of other countries. We should do everything we can to address this problem and regain our competence, says Villar.

Based on the official achievement tests given to graduating high school students in the 2004-2005 school year, only 6.9% could read, speak and comprehend English well enough to enter College and 44.25% do not even have English skills at all.

Furthermore, according to the European Chamber of Commerce, 75% of the countrys annual 400,000 college graduates have sub-standard English skills.

Villar cited on his resolution: In recent years, the country has helped win contracts in the booming business process outsourcing and call center sectors, which are experiencing fast-paced growth. But that lifeline appears to be a tenuous one as fears surface over a sharp decline in English compounded by falling school standards and the mass exodus of linguistically skilled professionals.

Concerned private and civic organizations have launched programs and campaigns to help Filipinos, especially the youth, in enhancing their English speaking, reading and writing skills. Meanwhile, Malacañang has ordered the Department of Education to make English the primary medium of instruction nationwide to make Filipinos internationally competitive.

We need to arrest the rapid decline in Filipinos English competency to continue to attract foreign investors and to boost the competitiveness of the countrys human resources both domestically and internationally, adds Villar.

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