For the first time in its 387-year history, Harvard University will finally offer a course in Tagalog!
Soon, not only Filipinos in the U.S. can speak Tagalog as Ivy League school Harvard University will be offering a course on Tagalog, the fourth most spoken language in the United States.
One of the key individuals behind this new milestone is Eleanor V. Wikstrom, co-president of the Harvard Philippine Forum and a Crimson Editorial chair. She said in a Harvard Crimson report that getting Tagalog offered has been one of the goals for “as long as HPF has been in existence.”
But what exactly does this mean for the Filipino, Filipino-American, and even Southeast Asian students at Harvard?
Here are three things that you need to know about the Harvard University upcoming program:
- The university’s Department of South Asian Studies will hire three instructors to teach Tagalog, as well as Bahasa Indonesia, and Thai for the academic year 2023 to 2024.
- Harvard’s Asia Center was able to secure financial support amounting to $ 1 million (Php 54 million) for the three preceptors to teach the languages through fundraising efforts. These positions will be three-year term appointments and are renewable for up to five additional years.
- The course could be a precursor for the establishment of a Southeast Asian Studies department, which is currently absent in the esteemed institution. For the most recent academic year, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences offered one survey course on the Philippines as part of Southeast Asian history. The Harvard Asia Center has been working to increase education about the region at the university.
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It’s not only Harvard University
Harvard, one of the world’s top universities, is not the first American school to offer Tagalog to students.
Other institutions like the University of Washington in Seattle are also offering a Tagalog course under its American Ethnic Studies program. The course starts with TAGLG 101 Basic Tagalog, which introduces the Filipino language and culture to students at the novice level, up to TAGLG 303 Advanced Tagalog, which includes readings of contemporary Filipino prose, poetry and drama, and advanced conversation and composition.
Filipino or Tagalog courses are also offered at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, California; Cornell University in Ithaca, New York; and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Furthermore, at the University of Hawaii in Manoa in Honolulu, students may earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philippine Language and Culture.
Banner Art Paulo Correa