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The Compulsory Teaching of Spanish Language in the Philippines

On June 5, 1754 a Real Cedula or (Royal Decree) of King Ferdinand VI of Spain, providing for for the compulsory teaching of Spanish in all schools for boys and girls, was received in the Philippines.

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This was part of the major changes in the education system of the archipelago from the Pre-Spanish period to Spanish colonization. Before the Spanish era, education in the islands was informal, unstructured. Parents and tribal tutors provided vocational training and less academics (3Rs). It was for the elite, but later access to education was was liberalized through the enactment of the Educational Decree of 1863. One primary school for boys and girls was established in each town, primary instruction was free and as mentioned above, the teaching of Spanish language was compulsory.

Spanish language is one of the lasting legacies of Spain to the Filipinos. Linguistic authorities claimed it enriched our national language with at least 5,000 Spanish loan-words. The knowledge of Latin alphabet, Spanish and later the English language, became the link that brought Filipinos closer to the Western World.


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