THE first ever three-day international conference on Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education started at Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro on Thursday.

The Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTBME) program is much more than just using the learners first to explain curriculum content.

It is designed to develop appropriate cognitive and reasoning skills enabling children to operate equally in their community language, the national language and English.

The MLE conference is bound together by 170+ MLE Talaytayan, a consortium of schools, colleges, universities, organization government, on- government and cultural workers.

The conference, reclaiming the right to learn in one’s own language, is joined by thousands of researchers, language education advocates, teachers and cultural workers from Asia, North America, Latin America and Philippines.

Co-sponsoring the conference are the Department of Education, the Summer Institute of Linguistics, Defenders of the Indigenous Language of the Archipelago and Translators Association of the Philippines and the House of Representatives spearheaded by Valenzuela Representative Magtanggol Gunigundo.

Aurello S. Agcawili, professor of Ilocano language in Hawaii, said the goal of education will be materialized by the year 2015 as he believed that using the native tongue as part of learning will be the most essential part in teaching educational process and practices to people easily.

The mother language education (MLE), now a movement sweeping the various sectors of the country, has gained some grounds with the signing of Department order No. 74 by Education Secretary Jesli Lapus in July 2009.

The order was based on the recommendations of Basic Education Sector Reform Agenda (Besra).

Agcawili said when MLE will be institutionalized as a fundamental policy and will be a program in the whole stretch of formal education including pre-school and in alternative learning system, then the flow of communication will be adoptable to anyone.

“It is proved that by using the multi language education, learners learn to read and write easily,” he said.