International Heritage Languages

International and Heritage Languages


Learning Spanish in Manitoba
Spanish is the language of many peoples who have made many important contributions to the history and culture of the world. Today, there are close to 400 million native speakers of Spanish, and close to 500 million speakers worldwide, including Spain and Africa, as well as Central America, South America, and North America. It is alanguage of enormous social, political, and economic importance.

Bilingual Education and Programming in Manitoba – Questions and Answers
This support document provides information on Bilingual education and programming in Manitoba, including legislation, policies, roles and responsibilities, and curriculum development and implementation, in the form of questions and answers.

Policy Documents

Policy for Heritage Language Instruction - Manitoba Education and Training (1993)


Highlights: Languages other than English or French

In addition to English and French, a variety of languages are offered as "languages of study" (similar to Basic French) in schools in Manitoba. Some languages have been offered for many years and others, like Japanese, have recently become popular.

Languages offered* in Manitoba schools include

German is the language with the highest overall enrolment followed by Spanish.

Within the City of Winnipeg, Spanish is the most popular language followed by Ojibwe, Filipino, Japanese and Cree. Spanish has been growing in popularity in Manitoba since the early 1990s. In the 2004-2005 school year approximately 1300 students were eligible for funding and 18 Senior Years public schools offered Spanish. A number of Independent (private) schools also offer Spanish and other languages (e.g. Balmoral Hall offers Japanese and Spanish).

Japanese was first introduced in Manitoba schools in 1994 as part of Asia-Pacific studies.

Since 1979 Manitoba's Public Schools Act provides for instruction in Languages other than English or French for up to 50% of the school day-these are commonly referred to as "Bilingual Heritage" Language Programming. In K-6, Language Arts, Social Studies, Art and Physical Education may be taught in the target Heritage/International Language.

Approximately 1587 students are enrolled in bilingual programming in K-6, with 250 students in "enhanced" programming in Grades 7 to Grade 12.

In addition, approximately 150-200 students each year elect to enroll in Independent Study courses in German, Spanish or Ukrainian.

School divisions in Manitoba also offer Bilingual Programming.

Manitoba School Divisions offering Bilingual Programming
Programming School Division
English-German River East Transcona
English-Hebrew Winnipeg, Seven Oaks
English-Ukrainian Winnipeg, River East Transcona, Sunrise, Seven Oaks, Lord Selkirk, Mountain View

Categorical Grants for both languages of study and bilingual heritage language programming are available to public schools.

*The statistics provided represent the numbers reported for funding purposes and for courses offered during the regular school day. Some school divisions offer before and after school programming in Heritage/International languages (e.g. Seven Oaks provides after school programming in a variety of International and Aboriginal languages).

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Funding of Schools

Distance Education

General Support Documents

Western and Northern Canadian Protocol Projects

The need for language programming is growing as students and parents realize the importance of languages in the global marketplace and for personal development. Each province is facing the need to provide language programs in many languages for small numbers of students. Therefore, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta have undertaken several joint projects in international languages under the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol.

Manitoba has participated in three completed projects to support curriculum development in languages other than English or French. The WCP projects and the documents that were the result of inter-provincial collaboration will be utilized to develop new curriculum for various Aboriginal and international/heritage languages.

In the 2001-2002 school year two new WCP sponsored projects in support of International languages will be initiated; the two projects are the:

  • development of a common implementation support document for Ukrainian Language Arts Kindergarten to Grade 12 (Bilingual programs)
  • development of a common implementation support document for Spanish as an International Language Grades 7 to 12 and Grades 9 to 12.

Other Language Programs

Indigenous Languages

French Language Programming:

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