MADRID?Spain will help the Philippines reintroduce Spanish language instruction at public schools in the southeastern Asian country under an agreement signed Tuesday between the two nations.
The study of the language is currently voluntary at public high schools in the Philippines, a former Spanish colony, but the government plans to make its availability widespread from 2012.
Under the agreement signed Tuesday, Madrid will help train Spanish language teachers in the Philippines, help develop the curriculum and provide electronic teaching aids as well as technical advice, the Spanish foreign ministry said.
It was signed by the Philippines' Education Secretary Jesli Lapus and the Spanish education ministry's director for international relations, Jose Manuel Martinez Sierra in Barcelona, it added in a statement.
In 1987 the Philippines abolished Spanish as one of its official languages as well as a requirement that college students had to learn it.
The language, one of the world's most spoken, has since largely vanished from everyday use in the country of just under 100 million people, with English and the local languages now commonly used.
Unlike in Madrid's colonies in Latin America, the Spanish language was never as widespread in the Philippines, mainly because of the small number of Spanish settlers in the archipelago.
English was introduced to the country when it passed from Spanish to American control after the Spanish-American war of 1898.