By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The offering of Korean language lessons will only serve as an “elective offering” to select secondary schools, the Department of Education (DepEd) clarified.
According to DepEd, the Korean language lesson is the recent addition under its Special Program in Foreign Languages (SPFL).
The recent partnership of the DepEd and Republic of Korea which formalized the inclusion of the Korean language in the SPFL has been drawing mixed reactions in social media. While some are elated with the offering of Korean language lessons in public schools, many netizens are criticizing the Department for having been “eaten” by the system – referring to the popularity of Korean dramas as well as Korean actors and performers.
Twitter user jerichoo (@SerrJerichoo) said: “I know nakakatuwa ang Kdrama pero di nakakatuwa ang pagsama ng Korean language sa curriculum (although K-drama is entertaining, the learning of Korean languade in school is not).” Reymar Angeles (@tlrcrhey) also said:
The Alyansa ng mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino (TANGGOL WIKA) or Alliance of Defenders of Filipino has also criticized DepEd – particularly Education Secretary Leonor Briones – for the said partnership.
TANGGOL WIKA, an alliance of professors and advocates of the Filipino language, said DepEd should focus on bringing back the required Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas (Philippine History) class in high school which was replaced by Asian Studies (Araling Asyano) in both Grades 7 and 8 to be in line with new K to 12 curriculum.
David Michael San Juan, the group’s spokesperson, said the Philippine History was “killed” by the K to 12.
Despite the criticisms, DepEd maintained that is mandated to “offer a responsive and relevant foreign language program to make junior high school students more globally competitive in the perspective of linguistic diversity.”
Through SPFL, DepEd said that public high school students all over the country are also learning Spanish, Japanese, French, German, and Chinese-Mandarin.
Briones and the Republic of Korea Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Jae Shin signed on June 21 a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) at the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH) in Diliman, Quezon City for the inclusion of the Korean language in the SPFL.
“We are very happy that finally we are having this signing of the MOA. This is not a beginning [but] a continuation of very long years of fruitful relationship, including the field of education, between the two countries,” Briones said.