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NEWS AND COMMENTARY
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Using English as language of love
By Zhang Yue, China Daily
November 12, 2011—With a good job and looks to match, Qu Zhan should be the type of guy who makes the ladies swoon.
But despite his qualifications as a “catch,” the 30-year-old investment consultant says he has had trouble finding love in Beijing after returning from six years of studying in London.
It may be his ability to sweet talk in English—honed during his time overseas—that will help him finally find Mrs. Right. He has discovered new hunting grounds at an English corner for white-collar workers, which he has prowled every Sunday for the past month.
“I deal with businessmen in their 40s and 50s at work,” Qu says. “So I don’t get many chances to meet women my age. My social circle in Beijing is small. So I spend most of my weekends at home, resting or watching movies.”
The English corner provides him a chance to meet the kind of women he seeks, he says.
“Participants tend to have a lot in common,” he says. “Most are well educated, and many have studied abroad - just like me. And women who speak good English tend to be outgoing.”
Low lighting and soft music imbue the two-hour events, staged in a cafe near the Guomao area, with an amorous atmosphere.
The corner, which hosts 10 men and 10 women a session, begins with self-introductions or the viewing of romantic movie clips, followed by a discussion. Everyone must speak only English at all times.
NBDB now accepts nominations to 2nd National Children’s Book Award
MANILA, December 15, 2011—The National Book Development Board (NBDB) is now accepting nominations to the 2nd National Children’s Book Award.
On July 2012, the National Book Development Board (NBDB) and the Philippine Board on Books for the Young (PBBY) will present the 2nd National Children’s Book Award, giving honor to the 10 best books for children and young adults published during the years 2010 and 2011.
All publishers, authors and illustrators are invited to submit their nominations. Deadline for submission of nominations is January 31, 2012. For the full copy of the rules and to download the nomination form, go to NBDB (www.nbdb.gov.ph) and PBBY (www.pbby.org.ph) websites.
During the 1st National Children’s Book Awards held in 2010, six books were chosen as the Best Reads of 2010. From a total of 131 books nominated: Araw sa Palengke (Adarna House) written by May Tobias-Papa and illustrated by Isabel Roxas; Tuwing Sabado (Lampara Books) written by Russell Molina and illustrated by Sergio Bumatay III; Can We Live on Mars (Adarna House) written by Gidget Roceles-Jimenez and illustrated by Bru; Lub-Dub, Lub-Dub (Bookmark) written by Russell Molina and illustrated by Jomike Tejido; Tagu-Taguan (Tahanan Books) written and illustrated by Jomike Tejido; and Just Add Dirt (Adarna House) written by Becky Bravo and illustrated by Jason Moss.
Peace Corps volunteer to teach in IT school
October 17, 2011—A Peace Corps volunteer will teach American language and accent to students of the Negros Occidental Language and Information Technology Center (NOLITC).
Stacie Self, a PCV volunteer of the Welcome Home Foundation, has chosen the NOLITC to be her secondary project in the Philippines. She will tutor and train students of NOLITC every week to expose them to the actual simulation of the English language with a native speaker.
Self said she loves to teach Filipinos how to speak English to help them feel comfortable in using the language and for them to land a job abroad.
The training center has already started its 100-hour English Language Proficiency (ELP) Training for forty skilled workers. This training aims to enhance the English proficiency of skilled workers for them to hurdle the IELTS Exam for possible job outsourcing in Australia and South Korea.
Bagobo teacher honored for coming home
By Tarra Quismundo, Philippine Daily Inquirer
September 17, 2011—Some trek for hours or brave a river’s strong current to get to school.
Others study their lessons by the faint glow of a lamp or in the throes of hunger, having been forced to make do without dinner. Still others labor at odd jobs—from doing the nails of strangers to working nights at the canteen—to raise money for tuition.
Bagobo teacher Anabel Ponce Ungcad has gone through it all. And the past is still painful, the tears quickly flow.
But the 30-year-old is encouraged by the present and how she can change the future: As the first college graduate of her tribe on the slopes of Mount Apo, she is giving back by helping members of her community transcend the limitations of their circumstances.
“The situation of our tribe prompted me to take up education because I saw their need to learn. They were so thirsty for education but we had no school,” Ungcad told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Ungcad, a teacher in the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System (ALS), is among the four educators honored this year in “The Many Faces of the Teacher,” an annual tribute held by the nonprofit Bato Balani Foundation and Diwa Learning Systems.
15 colleges, universities in Region 12 to converge for regional IT gab
GENERAL SANTOS CITY, September 8, 2011 (PNA)—At least 15 colleges and universities in Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao are joining the upcoming 3rd Regional Convention for Information Technology Students and Educators slated later this month in nearby Koronadal City in South Cotabato.
The three-day activity, which will be held on September 23 to 25 at the Notre Dame of Marbel University in Koronadal, is sponsored by the Philippine Society of Information Technology Educators (PSITE) and the Philippine Society of Information Technology Students (PSITS) in the region.
Martina Tagacay, PSITE regional president, the activity mainly aims to strengthen and expose young minds to the latest innovations, technological ventures and leading breakthroughs in information technology (IT) industry.
She said the gathering will focus on the theme: “Making IT in Region 12 remarkable and competent through excellent education.”
Education Department, Ateneo University launch website to monitor public schools
MANILA, September 4, 2011—The public can now access information on public schools through a website launched by the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Ateneo School of Government called checkmyschool.org.
By logging on to the website, the public can access information on a school’s budget, enrollment, teaching personnel, furniture, textbooks, classrooms, toilets, test performance, and proficiency ratings, among others.
The site facilitates interaction and allows users to send comments, photos, videos, and additional information. The site will serve as an independent third-party monitor of government performance in providing education services.
The pilot implementation of checkmyschool.org, which ran from Aug. 22 to Sept. 2, involved volunteer orientation, validation of information on available school services, reporting and closing.
Checkmyschool.org is a joint undertaking of DepEd and the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific, of which the Ateneo School of Government serves as the secretariat.
120 complete communication skills seminar
ROXAS CITY, Capiz, September 9, 2011 (PIA)—“It gave us a refresher on the English language and enabled us to learn new things.”
This was how Rene Mar L. Arquisola of the City Budget Office described his experience in the recently concluded Seminar on English Communication Skills for Professionals.
“It’s enjoyable and a very good project,” he added.
He was among the 120 employees of the Roxas City government who completed the training and were given a certificate of completion.
The free seminar, coursed through the Public Employment Service Office (PESO), was conducted in three batches.
Mila Barquin, PESO – Roxas City manager, said that the various topics in the training included Review of Basic English Vocabulary and Grammar, Communication Etiquette, Writing Business Letters and Public Speaking.
Novelist F. Sionil Jose honored at Palanca Awards
MANILA, September 3, 2011—For his valuable contributions to Philippine literature, Philippine STAR columnist Francisco Sionil Jose, dubbed as the “Old Man of Philippine Letters,” was honored by the Carlos Palanca Foundation with its prestigious Dangal Ng Lahi award at the 61st Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature (Palanca Awards) during its annual awarding rites held Thursday night at The Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati.
Also the guest of honor of the just concluded awards ceremony, Jose is a national treasure who has continuously regaled Filipinos with some of the finest prose ever to see print, including 12 novels, seven books of short stories, a book of verse, and five important books of essays, all in English but many of which are now available in 28 languages.
He is also a five-time Palanca awardee for his short stories “The God Stealer” in 1959, “Waywaya” in 1979, “Arbol de Fuego” (Firetree) in 1980, his novel “Mass” in 1981, and his essay “A Scenario for Philippine Resistance” in 1979.
The Palanca Awards, the country’s most prestigious and most enduring literary awards, gathered a total of 1,160 entries this year, submitted from all over the country. A total of 55 writers and 58 winning works were selected – with close to half (44 percent) being first-time winners.
Criticized for “belittling” native language, columnist writes in Filipino
MANILA, August 31, 2011(GMA News)—Criticized for claiming that Filipino is not the "language of the learned," columnist James Soriano on Wednesday wrote in Filipino or what he earlier called as the "language of the streets."
In a column published on Wednesday at the newspaper Manila Bulletin entitled "Wika bilang gunita," Soriano said he did not mean to appear condescending when he wrote last week that English was not "the language of learning."
Soriano said he merely wanted to share how the Filipino language is viewed by those like him who studied, grew up, and thought in English and consider themselves as "split-level Filipinos."
"Sa nakaraang artikulo, ninais kong magambala ang mambabasa para basahin ang di-nakasulat ... Tinangka kong hamunin ang mismong pag-unawa ng mambabasa sa kondisyon ng ating wika at identidad bilang Filipino," he wrote.
"Inimbitahan ko ang [mambabasa na] suriin ang kaisahan ng aking tono sa estadong panlipunan na isiniwalat ko ... Minarapat kong isiwalat ang kondisyon ng wikang Filipino sa aking mga mata upang maabot ang madla, sapagkat ang kondisyon ng wikang Filipino ay kondisyong pangmadla," he explained.
In his column Soriano reiterated that English was used mostly by the so-called privileged class.
Asia 21 salutes modern day young heroes, leaders
MANILA, August 28, 2011—The Asia 21 Philippines Young Leaders Initiative and the Metro Pacific Investments hail anew nine modern day young Filipino heroes for their untiring and continued quest to make people lives worthwhile, in an awarding ceremony in Meralco Compound, Pasig City, last Friday.
Recipients of this prestigious award are Atty. Paulino Salvador Leachon, Mayor of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro; Atty. Lesley Jeanne Cordero, assistant secretary for Legislative Affairs of the Presidential Communications Operation Office, Malacañang; Maria Doris Dumlao, Business Reporter, Philippine Daily Inquirer; Jeffrey Tarayao, chief corporate social responsibility officer, Meralco; Alvin Cloyd Dakis RN, founder and chairman of Alliance of Young Leaders and Advocates International Inc. and chairman of Alliance of Young Health Advocates; Michael San–dejas, filmmaker and professor in Advanced Digital Filmmaking at the De la Salle University-College of Saint Benilde, and Audiovisual Production at St. Scholastica’s College; Joy Anya Lim, a social entrepreneur and owner of ANTHILL Fabric gallery and Rags2Riches; Soledad Sylvia Nubia-Lee, Director for Partnerships and Resources of Pathways to Higher Education of Ateneo de Manila University; and Annalie Edday, the program manager of Quality Education in Sarangani Today (QUEST) Syner-geia Foundation.
The nine recipients first attended a two-day forum last August 25-26 at the Meralco Development Center, in Antipolo City, Rizal. They have tackled programs and points on how to alleviate the lives of their fellow Filipinos and even brought out some suggestions for nation building.
The young fellows will then be sent to the Annual Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit in New Delhi, India this November 18-20, 2011.
Asia 21 Young Leaders Program, under Asia Society, is tasked to unite some 200 young leaders of the Asia-Pacific Region, primarily to train in making innovative and global solutions for the regional and global problems in the coming years.
Deadline extended for entries to UST literary prize
MANILA, August 13, 2011—The University of Santo Tomas’s Department of Literature extends its call for entries for the Premio Tomas: the UST Quadricentennial Literary Prize.
Premio Tomas is a national contest open to all writers in four categories: Epic Poetry (Premio Recto); novel (Premio Jose); full-length drama or three-acts play (Premio Tinio) and expanded creative nonfiction or essay collection (Premio Mabini). Entries in English, Filipino and Spanish are accepted.
Interested contestants must submit an entry form secured from the General Education Office, UST Main Building or through www.ust.edu.ph. Submit entries in three hard copies and a soft copy in a CD encoded double space, 12 font in Times New Roman or Arial and printed in short bond, in a sealed brown envelope bearing title of entry. Manuscript proper should not bear the name of the author.
Grand prize for each category is P100,000. Deadline is on Aug. 31. Inerested parties may call Dr. Joyce L. Arriola, chair of the Literature Department at 7499779 loc 8428.
Presentation-demo on palm leaf art set August 25 at Ateneo Loyola campus
QUEZON CITY, August 20, 2011—To celebrate Buwan ng Wika [National Language Month], the Ateneo Press, the Ateneo Art Gallery and the Department of Filipino, School of Humanities, of the Ateneo de Manila University proudly bring to the public "Palaspas sa Agosto para sa Pasko," a presentation-demo featuring Elmer Nocheseda, author of PALASPAS: An Appreciation of Palm Leaf Art in the Philippines, on Thursday, August 25, 5:00 p.m., at the Ateneo Art Gallery, AdMU campus. Writer and educator Felice Sta. Maria is special guest.
PALASPAS, which has received several awards since its publication, presents Elmer Nocheseda’s painstaking documentation of palaspas forms based on his travels, interviews, research, and observations for the last several years all over the country.
The book begins with how the palm leaf has figured in our early history and culture, then highlights its myriad manifestations in the contemporary religious, social, and economic practices of various communities in many parts of the country. The bulk of the book presents detailed instructions on how to create the close to eighty palm leaf objects featured in this richly photographed book.
Ateneo Press’s Cultural Heritage series editor Father Rene Javellana, SJ, refers to palaspas as a “quintessentially a Southeast Asian folk and popular art form, ...and one of the few living survivals from a past we have almost forgotten.”
The book will be sold at the event, and is available in selected bookstores nationwide and from the Ateneo Press bookshop (T4265984; firstname.lastname@example.org).
TESDA promotes entrepreneurship, tech-voc training among OSYs
MANILA, August 12, 2011—Technical vocational education especially for the out-of-school youth took center stage at the celebration of the International Year of the Youth, which gathered government agencies, international institutions and non-government organizations to promote youth welfare and empowerment.
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva joined other government agency heads in gracing various initiatives held at the SM Mall of Asia Convention Center to celebrate the event, which coincided with the signing of a partnership agreement with the International Labor Organization. The event also featured learning sessions that showcased TESDA's Apprenticeship Program in partnership with Panasonic.
"As we celebrate the International Youth Day, we focus our initiatives in educating and empowering youth to become more productive assets of society. Technical vocational education remains to be one of the most interventions because it gives out-of-school-youths an option," Villanueva said. "In technical vocational education, the out of school youths have a choice," he said.
Villanueva, together with representatives of the Department of Labor and Employment and the International Labor Organization led the ceremonial signing of a Partner's Agreement in Entrepreneurship and TechVoc Training. The agreement targets 2,000 youths from poor communities in four provinces namely, Masbate, Antique, Agusan del Sur and Maguindanao. ILO will shoulder the training fees of the trainees, who will be chosen based on the results of a skills survey to determine the courses that are fit for them.
Villanueva also joined JobStreet.com in its career fair to express TESDA's appropriation for holding the event that would give technical vocational graduates a chance to seek instant jobs. Dubbed the Jobgantic Career Fair 2011, the event featured series of Hiring-on-the-Spot (HOTS) results that showcased newly-hired applicants and the different firms that employed them.
"Hiring on the Spot has revolutionized the way traditional job hunting is done and made things easier for both the applicants and the hiring firm," Villanueva said. "We hope we can replicate this in partnership with JobStreet.com in many other career fairs," he added.
TESDA earlier forged a deal with the online job facilitation company, which will help tech voc graduates find relevant jobs after finishing their courses. The agreement will give access to TESDA graduates to use the firm's job matching services and jobseeker sign-up facility for possible employment right after graduation.—Malacañang media release
Young Filipino entrepreneurs vie at Int’l Trade Challenge regional finals
MANILA, August 6, 2011 (PNA)—FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. and the world’s largest express transportation company, and Junior Achievement (JA) Philippines, recently announced the three Philippine team finalists of the FedEx Express/Junior Achievement International Trade Challenge 2011.
Students Johanna Wileen Go and Keefe Collin Tan from Saint Jude Catholic School (Team 1), Richard Tee and Clarence Yeo from Saint Jude Catholic School (Team 2), and Patricia Therese Mirador and Christina Marie Ysabel Cruz from O.B. Montessori, Inc. - Las Piñas (Team 3), will represent the Philippines at the regional competition to be held in Thailand on August 23 to 27, competing against 21 other teams from Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand.
Now in its third year in the Philippines, the FedEx/JA ITC program is designed to help students learn about international trade, and provide them with an opportunity to set up a mock business and develop a plan to export a product to an overseas market.
The program aims to educate and inspire youth in Asia Pacific countries, to help them understand how entrepreneurship can improve the quality of their lives and the communities they live in.
Zamboanga kids go to school, thanks to Facebook
MANILA, July 22, 2011—Thanks to Facebook — coupled with concerned netizens of the World Wide Web — 34 poor Christian and Muslim kids in Zamboanga City are going to school as scholars this year and thousands more will get to read books, use free computers and study in private.
“It’s ironical that what Mark Elliot Zuckerberg intended to be a dating site has turned into a socially beneficial engine now powering the education of very poor children who would have dropped out of school had their sad plight not be known to kind-hearted individuals in Manila and far corners of the world – courtesy of Facebook and the Internet,” said Armand Dean Nocum, founder of the Kristiyano-Islam Peace Library (Kris), a nongovernment literacy advocacy group.
Nocum came out with the statement as Metro Manila has been hit recently by serious crimes to include murder and rape resulting from contacts of people through Facebook and other social networking sites.
“I realized the Internet has done more good than harm to our advocacy to bring education to poor kids in Mindanao. Recently, a donor I met through Facebook a donated P50,000 to enable us to put to school our first five college scholars and 29 high school and elementary school students in Zamboanga City.
Ask Doug: 1 million or so English words
Abilene-Reporter News, July 27, 2011
Q. How many words are there in the English language? — Abilene
A. I think there are somewhere between 171,476 and a million or so words in the English language.
There's no way of pinning down an exact number for this question.
OxfordDictionaries.com says it depends on what really counts as a “word” and even what counts as “English.”
“Is ‘dog’ one word, or two (a noun meaning ‘a kind of animal,’ and a verb meaning ‘to follow persistently’)? If we count it as two, then do we count inflections separately too (e.g., ‘dogs’ = plural noun, ‘dogs’ = present tense of the verb). Is ‘dog-tired’ a word, or just two other words joined together? Is ‘hot dog’ really two words, since it might also be written as ‘hot-dog’ or even ‘hotdog’?”
Do you count all those Latin legal words, or French cooking words, or scientific/medical terms? How about slang and abbreviations?
“The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as subentries…
Home from the Peace Corps with more patience, understanding
By Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
July 24, 2011—Unless you talk their language, you don’t get very close to people. And Miranda Mozinski of Grand Forks learned early on that to succeed as an English teacher for the Peace Corps, she would have to read and speak the language of another country.
She was scheduled to fly home to Grand Forks this weekend after two years in the country of Moldova near Russia. She was coming home with mixed feelings — happy to see her family but very sad to think she may never again see some of the people who have come to mean so much to her.
During two years away, Mozinski has been able to keep in close contact with her mother, Pam Carlson, and her brother and three sisters in Grand Forks. After all, they could Skype and exchange email. “It’s not,” she said, “as though you were going into Africa and living in a hut for two years.” Now service in the Peace Corps requires that members have a bed with their own room. Gone is that stereotypical vision of sleeping on dirt floors in grass huts.
As she contemplated her return to America from afar, Mozinski answered questions in a series of emails. She knows she is a changed person. She’s more understanding of different cultures, values and traditions. She appreciates — and embraces — differences in people and culture. She has grown to have more patience.
Mozinski graduated in 2005 from Red River High School, went to UND for a year and transferred to Minnesota State University in Moorhead where she graduated in 2009 with a degree in early childhood education.
Study’s findings are utter nonsense
By Mobhare Matinyi
July 28, 2011—While reading an online edition of a Tanzanian paper recently, I came across a troubling story that not only sounded erroneous, but also silly. The story quoted a study which claimed that Kenyan pupils perform better in Swahili than their Tanzanian counterparts.
When I got the report I was shocked to discover that the reported research didn’t even get the name of the language right. I asked myself: how did the study handle much more complicated issues like sampling, reliability, and validity?
When one communicates in English, the name of our language is not Kiswahili, for God’s sake; it’s Swahili. Kiswahili becomes the name when we communicate in Swahili. That’s it!
Let me ask: What is the word for English in French? Is it English? No! The word for the English language in French is Anglais and the word for the French language in French is Français.
English speakers refer to the language of Germany as German, while French speakers call German Allemand, and the Germans themselves call it Deutsch.
Languages have different names in different languages, whether it’s Chinese, Hausa, etc. The name of our language in the language itself is KISWAHILI while in English is SWAHILI. In no way can English structure use the Swahili structure in which the name of the language starts with a prefix “Ki-” like in Kiarabu or Kiganda.
Calling our language Kiswahili in English communication is a common mistake in Kenya, including in the new constitution; it's grammatically incorrect. I think for a Tanzanian to repeat such a mistake is extremely irresponsible.
A public school in the Philippines transforms education via ICT
DASMARIÑAS, Cavite, June 13, 2011—Given the dynamics of 21st century education, how can public schools be competitive vis-à-vis private educational institutions?
For the Congressional National High School (CNHS) in Dasmariñas, Cavite, the integration of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has proven effective in improving the academic performance of students and in developing a roster of teachers that employ modern teaching methods.
CNHS has a dedicated building for its ICT laboratories. From the initial secondhand units purchased in 1999, there are currently more than 100 computers in the labs servicing over 4,000 students, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A former annex of the Dasmarinas National High School, CNHS has been integrating ICT literacy programs since 1999.
Emmanuel Resurreccion, CNHS Principal IV, and OIC, Assistant Schools Division Superintendent City Schools Division of Dasmariñas, said that his vision to have ICT integrated into the secondary education curriculum of CNHS intensified when he was sent to Korea for training and discovered that public schools there were “high-tech”.
This prompted him to apply CNHS in the Intel Teach Program, a program that trains educators to effectively use ICT in the context of local classroom curricula and education standard.
Van on wheels teaching computer literacy to out-of-school youth
ALAMINOS CITY, May 18, 2011 (PNA)—Hundreds of out-school youth here are now taking up free computer literacy training offered by AiHu Foundation Inc., a Taiwan-based charitable institution.
The computer literacy program, which started May 16, is being made with the help of a mobile van loaded with computers and other teaching tools.
This was made possible through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed earlier by Mayor Hernani A. Braganza with Billy Huang, CEO of AiHu Foundation Inc. and ABS Partylist Representative Catalina Leonen-Pizarro.
The agreement provided that roving classroom known as Computer Van Aralan Program will be on a nine-week stop-over in Alaminos City to teach the youth on computer literacy.
“This will definitely benefit our out-of school youth," Braganza said, stressing that with the right partners like ABS Partylist, AiHu Foundation, TESDA, and Department of Education, children of Alaminos will soon have a decent job without leaving their homes.