Winnipeg school to launch Filipino bilingual program

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Promotion of heritage, multiculturalism in growing Filipino population 

By Charmaine Y. Rodriguez

The Winnipeg School Division (WSD) is launching a Filipino bilingual program next school year with the goal of teaching subjects in Tagalog.

The program will be for kindergarten and grade 1 students and it was initiated by the Manitoba Association of Filipino Teachers.

With more than 77,000 Filipinos living in Winnipeg, it is an important moment of representation, according to program initiators.  

“It’s one way of embracing our heritage.  More than 40 percent of the student population of the Winnipeg Division are of Filipino origin. This is important as part of the multiculturalism that is part of the Canadian mosaic,” Dante Aviso, WSD trustee for Ward 5, told ctvnews.

 Beginning September 2023, certain courses like art, music and social studies will be taught in Tagalog. 

Aviso said the program will give kids the opportunity to learn Filipino as a second language. 

Perla Javate, the president of the Philippine Heritage Council of Manitoba and WSD trustee, said the program will be implemented if the interest will remain. 

“The campaign for it will be continued. By way of numbers, if the interest is there and it stays, it will keep on growing. That’s the hope. That’s what we want to happen,” she said in the same report. 

“With more Filipino [people] coming to Winnipeg, it will be an asset to have that language. I think more and more kids are realizing that now,” she added. 

Twenty-three students are needed for the program, and so far, more than half have signed up just after the announcement. 

The Seven Oaks School Division already offers a Filipino Bilingual Program at its A.E. Wright School.

The WSD currently offers bilingual programs in Ukrainian, Spanish, Hebrew, Ojibwe, and Cree.

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