Spanish in public schools not mandatory: Palace-A A +A
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
MALACANANG said on Wednesday that the government has limited resources to implement a mandatory teaching of Spanish language in public high schools.
This developed after visiting Queen Sofia of Spain hailed the efforts of the Philippine government for the reintroduction of Spanish language in the educational curriculum during a banquet at the presidential palace on Tuesday night.
"It's an elective subject right now in the high school but only in selected high schools The reason why we cannot apply in all the public high schools -- we’ve got around 7,000 public high schools. We do not have adequate teachers who can teach Spanish,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
At present, Spanish is being offered as an elective subject for junior and senior students in 64 public high schools nationwide.
"It's nice to learn a foreign language; it's always an advantage to learn a foreign language. But the problem is the mechanics and also the practicality of having sufficient teachers to provide instructions to that effect," Lacierda said.
The Department of Education (DepEd) has been coordinating with the Instituto Cervantes in selecting and monitoring schools that offer Spanish language as an elective subject.
During a state dinner hosted by President Benigno Aquino III, Queen Sofia acknowledged the historical, social and cultural links between the Philippines and Spain. The Philippines was a Spanish colony for nearly 400 years before it ceded the archipelago for $20 million to the United States in 1898.
The Queen thanked the DepEd for the initiative "not because it is the past cultural heritage of Philippines but also because it opens up opportunities to secure the well-being of future generations of Filipinos in a globalized world."
For his part, President Aquino said the reintroduction of Spanish language in the school curriculum has helped in the reaffirmation of mutual relations and cultural exchanges between the two nations.
Meanwhile, Senator Edgardo Angara threw his support to the re-introduction of the Spanish language, saying this will help the country in attracting more investment in the call center industry.
"The trend of investment and tourism of Latin America is towards Asia. We ought to catch that wave because now we have a natural destination," he said.
Spanish is the official language in 21 countries with a combined population of at least 400 million.
Queen Sofia underscored the role of the Philippines as valuable partner in strengthening trade between Spain and the Asia.
"The Crown, the government and the people of Spain see the Philippines not only as a sister country with whom we share many historical, social and cultural links because of our common past but also as a key partner in Asia to boost development we are fully committed to," she said.
"The Philippines has been and will always be a priority country for the Spanish cooperation for development," she added.
She assured the President of her country's continued support in the President's campaign against corruption and poverty and assistance during calamities.
"We will also stand by the Filipino people to overcome the frequent natural disasters that the country suffers just like the case of typhoon Sendong last December," she said.
President Aquino cited the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Spain, saying both countries are now co-equal in pursuing the goal of "fulfilling the vast potential of our peoples."
"Today, the Philippines and Spain stand shoulder-to-shoulder in pursuing the ultimate goals of both our nations -- of fulfilling the vast potential of our peoples,” the President said.
He mentioned cooperation in trade, sports, defense and tourism.
While bilateral trade has been steadily increasing with 2011 figures pegged at $329.6 million, Spain has been making further contributions to the Filipinos lives through their official development assistance and numerous humanitarian programs, the President said.
He cited Spain’s ODA which, he said, has helped finance livelihood and housing programs for Filipinos on the grassroots level.
The President also mentioned the 1.4 million euros donated by Spain to the victims of Tropical Storm Sendong in Mindanao which “has gone a long way towards rebuilding the lives and communities of our countrymen who were affected by the disaster.”
While in the country, she will visit the Spanish-assisted projects in Manila and in the provinces. She went to Legaspi City on Wednesday to unveil the statue of Jose Maria Peñaranda, the first governor of Albay.
She also visited an evacuation center, a hospital and inspected Spain-funded emergency and disaster response projects in the province.
On Thursday, Queen Sofia will go to Zamboanga City to visit a housing project where she will also inspect several Spanish-funded projects in the province.
The Queen, who is in the country for a five-day visit, is scheduled to return to Spain Friday evening. (Jill Beltran/Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)