KWF WANTS FILIPINO SPELLING TILT TO BE OFFICIAL DEPED ACTIVITY
MANILA — The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) aims to have its annual Filipino spelling contest among sixth graders nationwide institutionalized as a regular activity of the Department of Education (DepEd) for public and private schools.
The language agency is referring to its “Pambansang Paligsahan sa Ispeling: Iispel Mo!” spelling contest.
“We’re coordinating with DepEd regarding the matter,” KWF translation chief John Enrico Torralba announced during a program-lecture on the contest in Quezon City on Thursday.
Torralba said the contest covers words in Filipino, the country’s national language, and other Philippine languages, thus, institutionalizing the activity will help better promote the study and correct use of these languages.
Making the contest a regular DepEd activity will also help ensure funding for this undertaking, he added.
The KWF plans to discuss with the DepEd this year details of the proposed memorandum of agreement (MOA) covering the contest’s implementation, so both agencies can finalize and sign it.
“Signing that MOA will institutionalize the contest as a regular DepEd activity,” said the commission’s linguistics specialist, Sandor Abad, who is helping oversee the competition.
Institutionalizing the contest will enable DepEd to include this activity in its proposed annual budget, she added.
“DepEd wants the MOA, so that agency can propose funds for the contest,” she said.
Abad said DepEd is supporting the contest, since the agency has no similar activity for elementary schools.
She noted DepEd funding for the contest, so far, has been limited and drawn from the department’s available resources, since there is no budget for the activity.
Having a regular budget for the contest will help sustain implementation of the activity at the local level for the elimination round and national level for the final round, Abad continued.
The KWF came up with Pambansang Paligsahan sa Ispeling: Iispel Mo! in 2016 to help encourage elementary school enrollees to learn Filipino and indigenous languages spoken in their areas, noted Torralba.
“It’s good for them to start learning while they’re young,” he said. Torralba also noted a number of pupils are not able to join the contest, as they lack money for matters like travel to the competition venues.
Some contestants shoulder travel fees themselves, he noted.
“That’s why it’s important for the contest to have a regular annual budget,” he said.
Torralba said the KWF has limited funds for the contest, allocating these for prizes, venue of the final round, and accommodation of contestants and their mentors.
Despite funding constraints, Torralba said the academe’s response to the contest is still encouraging.
“We’ve been observing increasing interest in the contest,” he said. (PNA)
Photo by Mike Bueza/Rappler