[EDLING:1608] Solon: Screen English finishing schools
Francis M. Hult
fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Mon May 22 18:29:03 UTC 2006
Solon: Screen English finishing schools
House Deputy Speaker Eduardo Gullas of Cebu has urged regulators and business-
sectorial groups to work out a voluntary screening system for independent
English-language finishing schools that have proliferated owing to the
countrys booming information technology-enabled service industries.
Gullas urged local governments to join with the Commission on Higher
Education, Business Processing Association of the Philippines and the Contact
Center Association of the Philippines to establish a reliable-voluntary
accreditation program for centers offering short courses in English
Gullas was reacting to reports that English-language finishing centers have
multiplied in recent months due to the growing number of college graduates
brushing up on their communication skills to qualify for good-paying jobs in
call centers and other business process outsourcing providers.
The demand for short courses in English and other foreign languages is also
being driven in part by overseas Filipino workers.
"We want to encourage these centers to voluntarily submit themselves to
evaluation and possible accreditation," Gullas, an educator and author of a
bill seeking to reinstate English as the medium of instructions in schools,
"Once accredited, the centers would be in a position to facilitate the
recruitment of their trainees by BPAP or CCAP member-firms," Gullas said.
Gullas also asked Congress to provide the Technical Education Skills and
Development Authority increased funding to enable the agency to invest more
aggressively in the "English retooling" of workers.
The self-assessed English proficiency of Filipinos has slumped considerably in
the last 12 years, according to a March 2006 survey by the Social Weather
The poll showed a decline in all aspects of English mastery, most notably in
the ability to speak the language, compared to the results of similar polls in
December 1993 and September 2000.
An overwhelming majority of those polled acknowledged that English
communication skills are essential to secure high-paying jobs here or abroad.
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