School children with a DSWD teacher in a a classroom in Barangay San Roque, Gapan City, Nueva Ecija. Photo from Judgefloro, taken 16 January 2015 (Phoro from Wikicommons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jf9136SanRoque,Gapan_CityNEfvf_10.JPG)

In 2009, the Department of Education (DepEd) recognized the benefits of teaching children using their mother tongue or first language. Local and international research has found that children learn to speak, read, and write more quickly in their first language, and can pick up a second and third language more easily if taught in their first language. In the same way, they acquire other academic competencies more quickly, particularly in science and math.

Photo by Norbert Kaiser, taken 2006-12-27. (Source: Wikicommons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nollendorf_D%C3%A4mmerung_(01)_2006-12-27.jpg)

“Old age is not for sissies.” This quote, attributed to American actress Bette Davis, seems particularly apt in our society. In a country with a population where people 65 and older make up only 4 percent, our elderly face issues that are not for the faint of heart, such as poverty, abuse and neglect, sickness and disability, and loneliness and alienation from society.