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Korean language is just an ‘elective’ subject for high school – Briones

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MANILA — Korean language will be taught as an elective subject starting school year 2019 to 2020, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Briones clarified amid “misconceptions” about the teaching of the language that flooded social media in the past week.

“Hindi fair na mag-focus tayo sa Korean language dahil sa senior high school maraming electives na foreign languages,” she said in a press briefing at the DepEd central office.

She said elective subjects were not mandatory subjects, meaning they’re only taught two hours a week.

DepEd, she said, also offers French, German and Japanese as elective subjects.

Briones said learning Korean would be beneficial to Filipino students because Philippines and Korea have strong ties in the business and economics fields.

“Napaka-intense ng economic relationship natin with Korea at napakaraming Koreans, maraming mga Filipinos ang pumupunta sa Korea(Our economic relationship with Korea is intense and there are many Koreans [here], there are many Filipinos going to Korea),” she added.

In an interview, DepEd Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said the language program will not be offered to all high school students. Interested students will need to ‘secure mastery of Filipino and English languages’ before they could take the program.

“Hindi natin pwede kunin ang bata na aralin ang Korean, foreign language kung alam natin na may problema siya (We cannot get a student learn Korean, foreign language when we know that he or she has a problem) in our mother tongue” she added.

In June 2017, DepEd and the Korean Embassy in the Philippines signed a memorandum of understanding stating the teaching of Korean language together with other selected in languages in 10 high schools in the National Capital Region.

Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Jae Shin said while the language program could give Filipinos job opportunities abroad, it could also provide Filipino students study grants in Korea.

With regard to the Supreme Court’s decision declaring that Filipino and Panitikan (Literature) are no longer mandatory subjects in the general education curriculum of colleges and universities, Briones said basic education curriculum on the Filipino language will not be changed because the K to 12 program has bolstered teaching the Filipino subject.

“Itong Filipino at Panatikan ay naging mas advance na sa senior high school,” she added. (PNA)