Formally integrated in the course curriculum of the College of Social Work and Community Development and the A.B. Social Studies program of the defunct College of Liberal Arts in the ‘90s, Spanish is now being offered as a foreign language option in the University by virtue of a CHED mandate.
Under the supervision of Prof. Julie U. Cabato, director of the WMSU Language Development and Resource Center (LDRC) Spanish as a foreign language is also proposed as a special course for interested clientele aside from being integrated regular programs. The center offers basic Spanish language education that is centered on the conversational component to enhance the listening, speaking and writing skills of learners. Presently, the center is linked with Instituto Cervantes (IC) of Manila which provides a team of WMSU faculty ongoing intensive training under IC’s DELE (Diplomas de Español como Lenguaje de Estranjero) department. The latest series of training was conducted in the University with Sr. Jorge Mojarro Romero DELE coordinator last October 15-19.
Having pioneered the offering of the Spanish course in the public tertiary schools as a foreign language education in this area, the Zamboanga City Council lauded the Western Mindanao State University for its brilliant initiative. Through a resolution number 610 dated July 11 of this year the city council expressed its gratitude with “A RESOLUTION COMMENDING THE WESTERN MINDANAO STATE UNIVERSITY FOR LEADING THE CITY OF ZAMBOANGA WITH THE FIRST EVER SPANISH LANGUAGE COURSE FOR UNDERGRADUATES.”
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) directs that Institutions of higher learning should integrate foreign language education in their curriculum. Its integration shall not only teach students to learn the language but to appreciate our Hispanic culture. Prof. Uy- Cabato said that learning a new language is but practical because it gives you an edge in job qualifications especially in Business Process Outsourcing. “It has provided the academe an opportunity to give the business industry what it needs”, Prof. Uy-Cabato expressed. It is a common fact that there is a high rate of employees with mismatched skills in different workplaces. With the merging of the business industry and the academe, the LDRC hopes to bridge the gap in the current trend of employment by producing skilled workforce. This implies that WMSU graduates will have more opportunities to land a job that fits their skills particularly in multilingual call centers and similar areas.
The Spanish course offered by LDRC gives a channel for the graduates to use the language learned as an edge in the highly competitive hunt for jobs, commented Prof. Uy Cabato. It cannot be denied she said that even the English language has been enriched by Spanish terminology providing it more depth, color and nuances. It is interesting to examine the epistemology of some English words that can be traced to Spanish and even Latin origin e.g. legal and medical terms. The practical application of the Spanish language according to the latter is indeed often undermined.
As a CHED mandate LDRC prepares for the offering of the Spanish course to the Mass Communication and A.B. English students of the College of Communications and Humanities. It was an ordeal for the faculty at the start to get the students to appreciate the value of the language. But eventually students are eager to learn and speak the language especially displaying their eagerness during class activities. The students’ interest heightened as the course progresses Prof. Uy-Cabato enthusiastically relayed.
Prof. Uy-Cabato also shared that WMSU professors are getting the support they need in terms of training, thus enabling them to be better equipped in teaching the course. She expressed her gratitude to House Deputy Speaker and Zamboanga City District I Representative Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar for granting the support thru the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), to the Kapatiran Sandugo and Fundacion Santiago. It was through them that the university had professors who underwent training for the Spanish language at the Instituto Cervantes in Manila. As of now, there are six teachers from the College of Communications and Humanities equipped with the skills in teaching the Spanish language.
Aside from the continuing Job Enabling English Proficiency (JEEP) program that is being offered by the LDRC, Prof. Uy-Cabato disclosed her plan of coming up with basic Mandarin classes and other foreign languages. Thru the Office of the Vice President for Research, Development and Extension, Prof. Uy-Cabato is preoccupied with a proposal to be submitted to the Embassy of Spain in which WMSU professors will be trained to be more equipped in handling such course. She was also engaged with the recently concluded 2012 ZAMPEN ICT Conference and Trade Exhibit in which prospective business and career opportunities in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and other related Information Technology (IT) services are to be introduced in the city. The university is a targeted partner in the said project.
At present, the team of faculty members undergoing instensive Spanish Language training which started last April and May 2012, are: Prof. Julie U. Cabato, Dr. Socorro Yvonne Ramos, Dr. Lea U. Laput, Prof. Melchor Jalon, Mr. Mark Selisana and Mr. Carl Richard Dagalea are attending the training for Level III in Spanish.
Future engagements for the Spanish Language trainees are already anticipated on October to May 2013 for the Aula Virtual de Español (AVE), a continuation of the Spanish Language training. While in summer, a basic training for Business Process Outsourcing in Spanish will be conducted for the same group. (Ekeena O. Lim, WMSU – Public Affairs Office)