Manila : A government plan to reintroduce Spanish in classrooms will not only allow Filipinos to have a clearer sense of their cultural heritage but will create more job opportunities for them, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus has said.

"The re-learning of [the] Spanish language in our country also allows us to have better ties, including economic ties, with all Spanish-speaking nations in the world as well as [aiding] in our quest to understand our nation's past," he said.

Some 21 Spanish-speaking countries with economic activities worth $4 trillion (Dh14.6 trillion) rely heavily on the services of the business process outsourcing sector. Players in this sectors are in need of call centre agents who can speak Spanish.

Lapus said the education department, Spain's Ministry of Education, the Cervantes Institute and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) had recently signed an agreement to push for the advancement of quality teaching and promotion of the Spanish language and culture in the education system of the Philippines.

Two-phase project

Spain's support in the teaching of the Spanish language will be implemented in two phases — during the 2009-10 and 2013-14 academic years.

The pilot phase, which started in June 2009, reintroduced Spanish in 15 secondary schools around the Philippines.

Memorandum Order No 276, signed by President Gloria Arroyo in 2007, directs the education department to promote teaching of Spanish.

"Tiene perfecto sentido para nosotros hoy en dia para aprender el Español [It makes perfect sense for us to learn Spanish today]," Lapus said.

"With this initiative, we desire to equip our students with new skills that will allow them to become highly competitive in the global market," he added.