MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) clarified on Sunday, November 18, that the Korean language is intended as an elective and will not replace the Filipino subject in the basic education curriculum.
In a statement, DepEd said Filipino "remains to be among the core subjects in basic education while the teaching of Panitikan (Literature) in the Filipino subject serves as a springboard for discussion of grammar lessons and a way of strengthening the Filipino identity and culture."
It added that it is firm that in "continuously strengthening the teaching and learning of Filipino as part of the K to 12 Program"
The DepEd said Education Secretary Leonor Briones "consistently underscored the importance of history, culture, and the arts in understanding, appreciating, and preserving the soul of Filipinos as a people."
Formalized in 2017, Korean is just one of the 5 currently implemented Special Program in Foreign Language (SPFL) classes, which teach Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Japanese in public schools. It is offered to students in Grade 7 to 10 who have shown a mastery of the Filipino and English languages.
SPFL is a special program offered by DepEd to "to cater to multiple intelligences of the learners and to help equip them with the necessary skills to meaningfully engage in a linguistically and culturally diverse world."
DepEd's clarification comes amid reported confusion among the public regarding the teaching of languages in school. It also came after the Supreme Court’s decision lifting a 2015 temporary restraining order on a higher education directive removing Filipino and Panitikan as required subjects in college.