The Pangasinan translation of My Book of Bible Stories, which was released in 2012, is helping schoolchildren in the Philippines who speak that language. The publication fits in well with a Philippines Department of Education directive to use a child’s mother tongue for instruction in elementary schools.
Well over 100 languages are spoken in the Philippines, and the question of which language to use in the classroom has long been debated. In 2012, an order from the Department of Education recognized that “using the language used at home” produces “better and faster learners.” As a result, a “Mother Tongue-Based Multi-Lingual Education” program was established.
Pangasinan was one of the languages chosen to be used. But there was a problem. One school principal reportedly admitted that there are few reading materials for students in Pangasinan. Thus, the timing was right when Jehovah’s Witnesses released My Book of Bible Stories in the Pangasinan language at their district conventions in November 2012.
About 10,000 copies were produced for distribution at the conventions. Young children and their parents were delighted to get a book in their mother tongue. One couple said: “Our children love it because they can fully understand it.”
Right after the convention, a few Witnesses took their Bible Stories books to a school in Dagupan City. Teachers there, who were struggling to find materials in Pangasinan, were delighted with the book. More than 340 books were distributed. The teachers immediately began using the book to teach children to read in their own tongue.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are happy that this publication is playing a role in the education of young children. One of the translators who helped translate My Book of Bible Stories said: “We have long recognized the value of producing material in people’s mother tongues, so as to reach the heart. That is why the Witnesses put forth the effort to translate Bibles and Bible literature into hundreds of languages.”