MANILA, Philippines – Besides its usual preparations for the opening of classes, the Department of Education (DepEd) is also taking aim at what it calls the “jejemon mentality” of many students.
Jejemons are people who use a nearly indecipherable way of spelling words when texting or posting at social networking sites. (Read: wt D heCk iZ JEjem0N, N0h?)
“We’ll do what we can. We do understand our limitations here. But people are not going to say that DepEd did not do anything about this. We’re taking a stand here,” said DepEd Spokesman Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya in an interview on “Dateline Philippines Sunday” on ANC.
“We will do what we can but at the end of the day it will be the students—their cell phones, their text messaging. People are not going to say that their teachers did not do anything. Our teachers will do what they can to discourage such students so that communication is understandable and intelligible to everyone,” he stated.
Althought Malaya admitted that they cannot order a ban on jejespeak (the language of the jejemons) because it is sometimes used privately in the case of text messaging, he said the DepEd will rely on teachers to educate students on proper communication.
He said DepEd Secretary Mona Valisno will be asking teachers to discourage students from using jejespeak because “it doesn’t anymore facilitate communication between people… It doesn’t help communication. As a matter of fact it serves to muddle communication between people.”
“I think its part of the DepEd’s mandate to ensure that when our students communicate with each other, with teachers, with other adults, they should be able to send their communications in a manner that is comprehensible and not unintelligible,” he added.
Parents, teachers complain of jejemons
Malaya also called on the parents of jejemons to discourage their children from using such “new culture phenomenon.”
He said some parents also complained of jejespeak to the DepEd because they no longer understand what their children are saying in text messages. (Read: 'Anti-jejemon' campaign goes viral on the web)
“In this case parents also have a role to play... They should also take a stand [against jejespeak],” the DepEd spokesman noted.
He also confirmed reports that jejespeak has made its way into formal theme compositions, reports and essays of students.
“Yes that's correct,” Malaya replied when asked if jejemons used their language in school requirements. “That’s the reason why we’re taking a stand at the beginning of classes.”
He also mentioned that the jejemon mentality has spread nationwide.
“It's actually around the country,” Malaya said of the DepEd’s research findings on jejemon. “Before we thought it’s simply a small group of people but it’s being used not only in public schools even in exclusive schools, social networking sites… It’s no longer a phenomenon limited to NCR (National Capital Region).”
Despite the jejemon phenomenon, Malaya said the DepEd has not altered its curriculum to address jejespeak because it will simply reinforce its current curriculum.
“That's our mandate—to teach our students proper communication, grammar and subject-verb agreement… There’s no drastic change because of jejemon. That mandate has always been clear—to teach students how to communicate properly.”
Meanwhile, the DepEd will kick off “Brigada Eskwela” (National Schools Maintenance Week) on Monday to prepare for the upcoming school year 2010-2011. -- With a report from ANC