I am of the belief that there are many other skills that are necessary for global competitiveness. You have countries like Japan, France, and China who do not consider English as a primary language, yet still manage to succeed in the world of business.
Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas proposed a bill espousing English as the medium of instruction in Philippine schools. According to an Inquirer.net report, Gullas defends his English bill on the basis of it being the key to a globally competitive Filipino. However, Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo opposes the bill, pushing for a multilingual approach to education. However, the most powerful argument Rep. Gunigundo makes against English is that Gullas’ bill will only foster a workforce that will supply a steady stream of employees for call centers.
Gunigundo has a good point; if there’s anything that will doom this generation to call center employment prospects in the medium term, it’s the insistence on English. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a call center agent, but we cannot bank our entire economy on outsourcing. While there is merit in Gullas’ assertion that English is necessary for sustaining a globally competitive workforce, we should also expend our energies on sustaining what is necessary for the national polity.
Gullas asserts that the “language of technology” is English, but even this can be challenged. At best, English is the language of public relations and advertising, which is what is necessary for jobs in outsourcing and call centers. The language of technology is code and numbers. If Gullas does indeed want a globally competitive economy that focuses on technology, then competitiveness in mathematics and computer proficiency should be emphasized.