The state of English and English language teaching in the Philippines is at a critical point. Recent studies confirm the common impression that the English language proficiency of Filipino students is rapidly deteriorating. It is imperative that the trend be reversed if Filipinos are not to lose one of their most useful assets in contributing to national development and international communication.


In the late 70s and early 80s, responding to requests for seminars from various public and private schools around the country, faculty members from the Department of English at the School of Arts and Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University, traveled outside Metro Manila to deliver workshops designed to help fellow English teachers acquire new strategies for improving their craft.
Through the pioneering efforts Fr. Joseph Galdon, S.J. and Dr. Edna Z. Manlapaz, the Ateneo Center for English Language Teaching was founded in 1981 as the Department’s outreach arm. ACELT’s main aim was to upgrade the quality of teaching the English language as well as literature written in English in Philippine secondary and tertiary schools. Its seminar-workshops and conferences gathered English teachers nationwide for them to share ideas on language and literature teaching.
The Center’s clientele grew to include such institutions as MAPSA (Manila Archdiocesan Parochial Schools Association) and CEAP (Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines). Its pool of trainers expanded further as ACELT exchanged resources with the Learning Center of the Western Pacific Regional Office of the WHO (World Health Organization) in Manila. From April 1995 to March 1999, ACELT coordinated the British-Government funded Philippines English Language Teaching (PELT) Project for Philippine Secondary Schools. For this project, ACELT received consultancy from the Institute for English Language Education (IELE) at Lancaster University, UK.
Today, among ACELT’s collaborators in the field of education are the Jesuit schools all over the country, the Department of Education, the British Council, the Cultural Affairs Office of the U.S. Embassy, and various secondary and tertiary institutions in the country. As a center for education and development in English language and literature teaching, ACELT strives to be recognized as one of the leaders in the field of teacher training in the Philippines.