More schools in Alberta, Canada, will soon offer a Filipino language and culture program as part of the curriculum in a bid to preserve the “deep roots” of the community, the provincial government said.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced on Thursday, February 7, that the Filipino program will be expanded and offered to students in kindergarten to Grade 12 following “community requests to improve Filipino language offerings in schools.”
“As one of the largest and fastest-growing populations, the Filipino community has brought essential skills to our workforce and added so much to our social fabric,” she said.
“Creating a K-12 Filipino language and culture curriculum will ensure this vibrant community can continue to grow deep roots and make this province even greater,” Notley added.
The Filipino language and culture curriculum is currently just offered in high schools in select areas, including Calgary Catholic School District, Edmonton Catholic Schools, and Saint Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Schools.
In a video upload on Twitter, Notley said they are looking forward to implementing the curriculum as early as the start of the 2020 school year, adding that they will begin consulting with the Filipino community to craft the program.
The program, however, will not be mandatory and that “school authorities have choice and flexibility in offering language programming that best meets the needs of the communities they serve,” according to the Alberta government’s official website.
There are at least 170,000 people with Filipino heritage in Alberta, Canada. Filipinos, meanwhile, make up the 4th largest visible minority groups in Canada, according to the 2016 Census, with 851,410 people with Filipino descent.