All High School Students in the Philippines to Study Spanish

Jesli Lapus

On Feb. 28, 2010, Nap Imperial sent the following email:

Day Lolit, here’s the statement from Spain as translated by my FB friend Sr. Alvaro Veniegas.  I’m now reacting to the statement in the 3rd paragraph which says it will be expanded to include all schools by 2012.  I think any decision to offer any extra foreign language  other than English or any other local language should follow the policy laid down in the Department Order No.74.  which the Secretary signed on July 14, 2009.

The provision  states: “Other than English, Filipino, or Arabic for Madaris schools, the choice of additional languages shall be at the behest of parents and endorsed by local stakeholders and as resources permit. When the pupils are ready, Filipino and English shall be gradually used as MOI no earlier than grade three. However, L1 shall be effectively used to scaffold learning.”

Here’s the press release:

All High School Students in the Philippines to Study Castilian

[Original in Castilian “Todos los alumnos de Secundaria de Filipinas estudiarán castellano“, BARCELONA, 23 Oct. (EUROPA PRESS)]

Every High School student in the Philippines will study Castilian language –as foreign language- and Spanish culture, per the agreement reached by the Ministry of Education of the Philippines, the Spanish Ministry of Education, the Instituto Cervantes and the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation and Development (AECI).

As part of the “Spain-Philippines V Tribune”, inaugurated in Barcelona today, the Philippine education minister, Jesli A. Lapus, explained that this initiative is “very important” to the society of the Philippine Republic, but stressed that it will be of a specially important high value to the economy of the country.

The agreement foresees a pilot phase of introducing the study of Spanish in 15 Secondary schools, which will benefit about 1,000 students, and a subsequent expansion phase of the program extending the initiative to other 50 schools – 8,000 pupils -. By 2012 the system will be expanded to all schools.

The Spanish language currently holds the status of “voluntary and optional” in the Philippine educational system. However, the director of Instituto Cervantes, Carmen Caffarel, expressed her wish that the Castilian language become a co-official language in the country.

She argued that the number of students interested in the official language of the former Spanish colony, which was the Philippines, keeps growing more and more. In this regard, the director of AECI, Carlos Alberdi, mentioned the “hero” of the independence of the Philippines, José Rizal; he asked that his value be taken into account, also as “one of the best authors” in Castilian of the XIX Century.

The Ministry of Education (Spain) was represented by the General Director of International Relations, Jose Manuel Martinez, who emphasized the “seriousness, soundness and structure” of the agreement with Philippines.

5 thoughts on “All High School Students in the Philippines to Study Spanish

  1. (castillian) spanish should be co-official of the philippines as it was before. it should be taught in school starting from the 1st grade. i truly believe it will bring high value to the economy of the country.

  2. It’s a great move, it’s high time for Filipinos to learn a third language to be more globally competitive and for us to reconnect to our past so we can understand more of what we have today. My Mexican friend told me one time, “It’s a shame that you Filipinos have Spanish names, embraced Catholicism and a lot of Hispanic culture in you but you don’t know how to speak Spanish! I don’t know if I’ll get mad or what…but he has a point!

  3. Ya iba siendo hora de que volvieran a introducir en el sistema educativo la enseñanza del castellano. Sin saber español nunca conocerán su pasado que fue escrito en la lengua cervantina. Esperemos que el gobierno de Benigno Aquino siga con esta política, establecida por la hispanohablante y ex-presidenta, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. ¡Viva Filipinas!

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