Filipino Bilingual Program Calls for New Students

Filipino Bilingual Program Calls for New Students

Community urges Seven Oaks School Division to continue monumental language program

Manitoba’s growing Filipino-Canadian community has its hopes set on keeping the country’s first Filipino bilingual program running at A. E. Wright School in Seven Oaks School Division.

At least 20 students in grades K to one as well as 20 students in grades two to three are needed for the program to continue in September 2019. However, numbers have fallen short. Educators and community supporters are pushing to up registrations before the end of August.

Parents should be able to call the school and register their child without being discouraged that the program may not continue. It has been a struggle to encourage parents to enroll their children because the support from the School Division is hardly there. We’ve been left out of information sessions and school open houses to let parents know this program exists. We are really hoping the Filipino-Canadian community can get the word out, show support, and stop the School Division from ending the program, said parent, Ivy Lopez-Sarmiento, whose twin daughters attended the program in its inaugural year. The Filipino Bilingual Program is based on the Manitoba Education Curriculum and divides the medium of instruction between Filipino in arts subjects and English in math and sciences. The Seven Oaks School Division also currently offers Ukrainian and Ojibwe bilingual programs.

It is important that the Filipino Bilingual Program continue. The Filipino-Canadian community here is now over 80,000 strong. The diversity among our students as newcomer children, as well as second and third generation Canadians, range from knowing so much to knowing so little about their heritage and language. The Filipino Bilingual Program is an important opportunity for them to build their own positive self-identity in a nurturing and safe cultural environment. They already exemplify, in just one year, what it means to grow with this sense of belonging, said teacher, Porfiria (Poria) Pedrina. Parents are urged to contact one of the advocates Cory Juan at 204-694-8517 or e-mail at, to register their children by the end of August.