Alberta’s NDP will push forward with plans to develop a Filipino curriculum for schools that are interested if the party gets elected in May.
Plans for a Filipino curriculum were announced by the previous NDP government in 2019, which was cancelled when the UCP took office.
Alberta has the second-highest population of Filipino Canadians in the country at 216,710 according to the 2021 census. That’s 5.2 per cent of the province’s population, up from 4.2 per cent in 2020.
“As one of the fastest growing cultural communities in Alberta, we have heard the need for this curriculum from the community so we will deliver,” said NDP leader Rachel Notley at an event in Calgary on Friday.
”We will work with the Filipino community to develop and implement this curriculum in our first term so families across Alberta have access for the very best education for their kids no matter what corner of the province they call home.”
Notley said providing opportunities for students to learn in a variety of languages helps children and youth strengthen their ties to cultural identity, maintain their heritage and build important language and literacy skills.
“There’s also a powerful economic case for teaching a wide range of language skills in all of our schools. These opportunities promote Alberta as a global destination for anyone seeking to build a career, start a business, or raise their family,” Notley said.
Alberta currently offers 26 languages for study, outside of English and French, 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.
Desirey Juan, a parent in south Calgary, said her two children are bilingual in English and Filipino which allowed them to communicate with Filipinos in the city and adjust to their new life when they arrived in Canada last year.
She said only one school in Calgary offers the Tagalog language as a curriculum and the NDP’s initiative would help children deepen their connection with other Filipinos as well as promote respect and appreciation for other cultures in Canada.