By JASON B. NEOLA
NAGA CITY — Students of the Naga City Science High School (NCSHS) will be studying the Spanish language as a regular subject while their proficiency in mass communication, particularly journalism, will further be enhanced.
The public school, established by the Naga City Government in 1994, is a beneficiary of two major programs of the Department of Education (DepEd), making it a pilot school in the Bicol region for the two courses.
The school was chosen to lead the implementation of the new courses due to its high academic performance and the availability of facilities. Also, its teachers are undergoing special trainings on the two subjects.
The Special Program in Journalism (SPJ) and the Special Program in Foreign Language (SPFL) will provide the students with appropriate exposures on top-to-bottom details of the subject matter in each field.
NCSHS principal Sulpicio C. Alferez III said the school has been designated to be the region’s “special foreign language school” by the DepEd because of its impressive performance in Mean Percentage Score in English in the 2008 National Achievement Test (NAT).
DepEd also envisions offering language courses for Mandarin, French, and Nipponggo at the secondary level to increase the multilingual options of students.
The foreign language program for Spanish is being undertaken based on the memorandum of agreement signed between the DepEd and the University of Alcala in Spain.
Jaimito de Leon, NCSHS’s focal person for the special program in foreign language, underwent a two-month pilot teacher training program, and the professional development course on teaching Spanish as a foreign language under the supervision of Instituto de Cervantes in Manila and the Universidad De Salamanca in Spain.
Spain’s long term commitment includes the designation of permanent education attaché in the Spanish embassy in Manila and to establish learning centers in Spanish-teaching educational institutions like the Philippine Normal University and DepEd training centers.
The language program, which started last year, is offered on voluntary basis. Basic course is taught to junior students, as part of the curriculum, and the advanced Spanish to senior students, as an elective during Saturdays.
The SPJ is a four-year advancement course the main focus of which is on writing as a process and as an art. It covers subjects, such as: basics of journalism, scriptwriting for radio broadcasting, radio/TV news script production and broadcasting, and hands-on production of the school’s in-house publication.
The course is open to incoming first year high school students who have 88 percent grade average in English and Filipino and a general average of 85 percent. They should have exhibited talents and interest in journalism and passed the qualifying written and oral examinations given by the school.
Baby Ruby Laurente, SPJ coordinator, said journalism students are also recipients of follow-on lectures on advanced English subjects like: language proficiency, speech development and public speaking, technical writing and research, and complete exposure or hands-on experience in the actual workplace.
The SPJ course in NCSHS was introduced in 2009 with 36 students. Kristi Maria Dominique Aguilar and Charlene Manalang won the 1st Place (Copy Reading/Headline Writing) and 3rd Place (Editorial Writing), respectively, during the National Schools Press Conference’s SPJ category held recently, in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.