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DepEd defends inclusion of Korean subject

/ 07:20 AM November 17, 2018

“It is still dependent on the availability of the teacher and . . . the student’s wish to study the language” –Leonor Briones, Education Secretary

The Department of Education (DepEd) has again come under fire over its pilot program to introduce Korean language electives in the grade school curriculum, which critics found ironic in the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling that removed Filipino and “panitikan” (Philippine literature) subjects as required courses in college.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said it was “unfair” and “strange” to scrutinize the program and for its critics “to zero in on (the) Korean language.”

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“We have long been teaching foreign languages, especially those recognized by the United Nations,” she added.

“[Hangul, the alphabetic system used for writing Korean], is just one of the languages that the department is pushing,” Briones said. “It is still dependent on the availability of the teacher and, of course, the student’s wish to study the language,” she added.

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Foreign languages

Since 2009, the DepEd has been teaching foreign languages like French, Spanish, Nihongo and Mandarin.

On Thursday, the DepEd released the list of the first 10 public schools that will be teaching Hangul in the upcoming semester, as part of a 2017 memorandum of agreement with the Korean Embassy meant to foster appreciation of the Korean culture.

The schools are: Jose Abad Santos High School, Pasay City National Science High School, Kalayaan National High School, San Bartolome High School, North Fairview High School, Maligaya High School, Judge Feliciano Belmonte Sr. High School, Lagro High School, Las Piñas National High School and Makati High School.

Trained teachers from the Korean Cultural Center will handle the curricula for the elective, which will be offered to students in Grades 7 to 12.

Briones, who said she would no longer comment on the Supreme Court decision to relegate Filipino and panitikan subjects as mere electives in college, affirmed the DepEd’s commitment to firm up the teaching of Filipino and panitikan in the primary and secondary level.

No duplication

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In 2013, the CHEd ordered the removal of Filipino and panitikan from the required general education subjects to ensure that there would be no duplication in subjects taught in different school levels. The agency, however, deferred the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling pending the resolution on the motion for reconsideration filed by Filipino language advocates.

At the Senate, more senators on Friday spoke out against the Supreme Court decision.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian maintained that the inclusion of Filipino as a college core subject “will encourage more youth to preserve our language as a vital connection to our nation’s history.”

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, in a statement written in Filipino, noted that “we still have many secrets to learn from the beauty and depth of our own language.”

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said the CHEd policy should be set aside, stressing that “the national language of any nation ought to be a core course.” —KRIXIA SUBINGSUBING AND DJ YAP

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