Cebu representative Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. has urged Malaca?ang to harness the state-owned People’s Television Network (PTV) to provide distant learning programs that would build up the English communication skills of Filipinos.
“Government has been spending a lot of money subsidizing PTV. We might as well tap the network to forcefully teach English on the side,” said Gullas, vice chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education.
“TV is a potent tool for the mass coaching of English. One hour of coaching every day via PTV will go a long way in bridging our English gap,” Gullas pointed out.
Gullas is author of a bill that seeks to reinforce the English skills of the nation’s future labor force participants by reinstating the language of technology as the medium of instruction in all school levels.
“To get the remote English learning programs up and running, PTV should now consider forming partnerships with the Philippine Business for Social Progress and the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines,” Gullas said.
He proposed multiple levels of English instruction — for toddlers, for out-of-school youth and adults learning English for the first time, for grade and high school students, and for college students, graduates and young professionals.
In other countries, Gullas noted that TV networks, whether state-run or privately owned, are increasingly engaged in the mass teaching of the world’s working language.
He cited the case of the Australian Broadcasting Corp., which has a TV service that facilitates the learning of English in all school levels.
Surveys have shown that many Filipinos are now aware of the need to master English for them to be able to compete in the more lucrative job markets here and abroad.
Those wanting to learn or improve their English would be naturally drawn to the distant learning programs, Gullas said.
Congress recently passed Republic Act 10390, An Act Revitalizing the People’s Television Network Inc.
Gullas said the new law increased PTV’s authorized capital from P1 billion to P6 billion, to be fully subscribed by the national government.
Of the P5-billion capital increase, he said P3 billion shall be funded via new appropriations by Congress, while P2 billion shall be paid for by the proceeds from the privatization of Radio Philippines Network and Intercontinental Broadcasting Corp.
Besides the fresh capital injection, the new law authorizes PTV to generate commercial revenues from advertising and airtime sales.