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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Bill establishes partnership program in foreign language education
Writer: Lorelei V. Castillo, Media Affairs and Public Relations Service
15 April 2016 09:31:09 AM

A bill that will provide grants for partnerships that can develop and maintain a foreign language program for select students from kindergarten through high school has been filed in the House of Representatives.

House Bill 6494, authored by Rep. Alfredo D. Vargas III (5th District, Quezon City), mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) to make grants to eligible partnerships to develop and maintain, or to improve and expand, model programs that support articulated foreign language learning from kindergarten through high school for select students who exhibit aptitude for learning foreign language.

Vargas said providing grants for developing and maintaining model programs of articulated foreign language learning for select students from kindergarten through high school will increase the number of students graduating from high school with an advanced level of proficiency in at least one foreign language.

According to Vargas, learning foreign language at an early age offers a wide possible set of benefits and opportunities for children.

He cited the study conducted by the Harvard University, which confirms that learning additional foreign languages develops critical thinking skills, improves academic achievement and enriches cultural awareness in young children.

"It gives children an advantage to be globally competitive," Vargas said.

Under the bill to be known as the "Foreign Language Education Partnership Act," an eligible partnership receiving a grant shall design model programs and teaching strategies relating to not less than one foreign language that are informed by the best practices recognized by the field and by available research.

Grant funds shall also be used to develop, for the foreign language to which the model program relates, curriculum materials based on an articulated framework or approach designed to bring students to an advanced level of proficiency upon graduation in high school.

Further, an eligible partnership receiving a grant shall recruit students and teachers for the foreign language, such as individuals from heritage population, and carry out teacher in-service and pre-service professional development programs, including summer institutes, that support the model programs.

The measure provides that the Secretary of DepEd to give an objective assessment and evaluation system for the beneficiaries of this grant. The Secretary shall also include in the implementing rules the grounds for discontinuance of grant to non-performing beneficiaries.