[EDLING:1608] Solon: Screen English finishing schools

Francis M. Hult fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Mon May 22 18:29:03 UTC 2006

ABS-CBN Interactive


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 
country’s 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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