February 23, 2011

Dep Ed Steps Up Foreign-language Program

MANILA, Philippines—Soon, public high-school graduates would be greeting their teachers a hearty “good morning”—in six languages.

The Department of Education (DepEd) is stepping up its foreign-language program in the coming school year, adding two widely spoken Asian languages to a list that already includes Spanish, French, Japanese and German.

Arabic and Mandarin, both emerging business languages, will be introduced to select classes in public high schools, DepEd said Wednesday.

This is in addition to basic classes in Spanish, Japanese and French, which all debuted in DepEd schools in school year 2009-2010, and German classes that started in the current school year.

“Studies have shown that facility in just one foreign language is now perceived as a disadvantage in a global market that is culturally and linguistically diverse,” said Lolita Andrada, DepEd Bureau of Secondary Education chief.

DepEd's foreign language classes are taught in 3rd and 4th year high school classes with speech laboratories and where students are already proficient in English. English has long been traditionally taught in Philippine schools.

“We believe the last two years of high school is the most appropriate time to learn a second foreign language because that is the time they are most ready,” Andrada said.

Per DepEd count, some 54 high schools already run Spanish classes with the help of Instituto Cervantes. Japanese is in 13 high schools with assistance from the Japan Foundation Manila.

Alliance Francais helped bring basic French to 12 high schools while the Goethe Institute sponsored the introduction of German classes to nine high schools.

DepEd introduced the program amid a noted declining English proficiency among Philippine students.

Philippine Inquirer