Nov 19, 2018

Following last week’s tirade of the non-mandatory inclusion of Filipino subjects in the university level, the Department of Education (DepEd) has drawn ire for the proposal to offer Korean language classes to public high school students.

Although the proposal was first introduced last year, it has only resurfaced after news broke out that Filipino will no longer be a required college subject. Netizens raised the concern of whether or not the introduction of Korean will inherently replace the Filipino language in the basic education curriculum.

Now, with the rising presence of K-pop culture in our country, this may also be a question that may boggle your mind; has DepEd chosen to inculcate Korean language and culture to young minds over our own?

Not necessarily.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones (left) and Korean Ambassador Kim Jae Shin sign the memorandum of agreement for the Special Program in Foreign Language – Korean last 2017. Photo by KCC Public Relations; taken from

In case you have been out of the loop, Korean is being offered as an elective to public school students starting this semester. Apart from this, language classes for Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Japanese will also be offered.

This is part of the Special Program in Foreign Language (SPFL) agenda by DepEd that aims “to prepare the graduates in a linguistically and culturally diverse global workspace.

The proposal of Korean language classes also stemmed from an agreement between DepEd and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea back in 2017. The pilot program will run across 10 public schools in Metro Manila.

DepEd further clarified that not all students who have shown interest in learning the language will be allowed to take up the courses. In a report, DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla further emphasized that only Grade 7 to 12 students with “mastery” of the English and Filipino languages will be allowed to take up language electives.

For something that was set in stone for over a year now, we have yet to see a clearer picture of how DepEd will play this program out. Other than the fact that the agency will be implementing this program in line with K-12, little is known about the details, really. As of writing, it is also unclear how Filipino and English language mastery will be measured.

And so, we raise these questions for DepEd: how exactly can you tell if a student masters the rules of English and Filipino grammar? Will each student be required to take up a foreign language elective or can he or she choose to continue studying English or Filipino? Are foreign language books and learning materials readily available to each student? The list goes on and on.

DepEd may only mean well to the younger students but before this program goes in full swing, let’s hope that they have answers to our questions.


Header image courtesy of

Read more:

Filipino will no longer be a required university subject

Writing a nation: Should we start using Baybayin again?

DepEd to add a manners and conduct class to K-12 curriculum

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TAGS: department of education filipino korea language nolisoliph public school school