At a roundtable with community leaders, Premier Rachel Notley announced the government will expand learning opportunities for students by developing a Filipino language and culture curriculum.
There are about 170,000 people of Filipino heritage in Alberta, and this new curriculum will help these children and youth connect with their heritage and culture. Expanding Filipino language and culture programming to students in kindergarten to Grade 12 follows community requests to improve Filipino language offerings in schools.
“Alberta is a welcoming place made richer by its cultures and languages. 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. 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.”
Rachel Notley, Premier
“Providing learning opportunities for students in a variety of language programs helps youth maintain their heritage, strengthen their cultural identity and build language and literacy skills. Strengthening language programs based on local need and demand can be an effective tool in addressing racism. In fact, this is one of the ways we’re acting on the feedback we heard, and commitments we made, in our government’s anti-racism consultations and report.”
David Eggen, Minister of Education
Filipino language and culture curriculum is currently offered at the high school level as a locally developed course in some school jurisdictions, including Calgary Catholic School District, Edmonton Catholic Schools and St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Schools. After the new K-12 Filipino curriculum is developed, Alberta Education officials will work with stakeholders and community partners to identify resources to support the curriculum.
“The official declaration of having the Filipino heritage language in the curriculum of Alberta schools is a historic gift by the Alberta government to the Filipino community. This strongly demonstrates the respect for a culture’s diversity and uniqueness through its language. Programs like this instill pride in students and their heritage, and results in active and engaged citizens.”
Dolly Castillo, Filipino community leader
The K-12 Filipino language and culture curriculum will not be mandatory. School authorities have choice and flexibility in offering language programming that best meets the needs of the communities they serve.
Besides English and French, 26 languages are currently available for study in Alberta, including American Sign Language, Arabic, Blackfoot, Cantonese, Chinese, Cree, Dene, Filipino, German, Greek, Gujarati; Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Nakoda/Dakota, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tsuut’ina and Ukrainian. (pr)