Philippines: Senator recommends Screening English finishing schools

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue May 23 11:51:23 UTC 2006

Forwarded from edling at

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 proficiency.

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, said.

"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 Stations.
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

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