Critiquing Mother Tongue-Based Language-in-Education Policies: A Focus on the Philippines

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This chapter is an examination of the possible impact attitudes to language have on the success of multilingual education policies. We argue that if these attitudes are not addressed, mother tongue-based policies in education may inadvertently maintain the hegemony of English rather than empower local languages and communities. Furthermore, we argue for the need to consider language allocation, affiliation, and variation in policies which will affect pedagogical practices. In addition, we problematize how multilingual contexts with a strong level of English use lead to variations in language whose place must be considered where schooling is concerned. Finally, we consider these policies in terms of the principles-based approach (Mahboob and Tilakaratna 2012) to language policy. Without using the PBA as a guide, any language policy may just be created without its stakeholders fully understanding what it means. In the end, language policies in a multilingual society that is dominated by English cannot be so simple as insisting on a multilingual system of education. Rather, various issues must be considered to ensure that these policies do help toward changing society instead of just maintaining power relationships that limit the access of various sectors to different social, economic, and semantic resources.