[lg policy] Jamaica:Policy shift required to make second language compulsory in schools

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Sat Sep 1 14:54:30 EDT 2018


 olicy shift required to make second language compulsory in schools
<http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20180830/policy-shift-required-make-second-language-compulsory-schools#>
<http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20180830/policy-shift-required-make-second-language-compulsory-schools#>
<http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20180830/policy-shift-required-make-second-language-compulsory-schools#>
Published:Thursday | August 30, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
<http://jamaica-gleaner.com/ana-marie-rodriquez/paul-clarkegleaner-writer>
Ian Allen <http://jamaica-gleaner.com/authors/ian-allen-0>
Dean-Roy Bernard (second left), permanent secretary in the Ministry of
Education, Youth and Information, greets some of the Cuban teachers in
Jamaica during the annual orientation for Cuban teachers, held at the
Alhambra Inn on Tuesday.

   -

Making the teaching of a second language compulsory in Jamaican schools
will require a new policy directive, says Dean-Roy Bernard, permanent
secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.

Bernard noted that the ministry is at the review and development stage of
plans to put the necessary infrastructure in place to enable the policy
shift.

"We cannot make learning a second language compulsory at this time because
the infrastructure has not been built out as yet. We need to have the
teachers in the classrooms; and the curriculum being universal and
standardised across the board, before that is done," Bernard said.

He was responding to a question at the annual orientation for Cuban
teachers at the Alhambra Inn, St Andrew, on Tuesday, where 24 Cuban
educators were being given an official welcome and introduction into
Jamaica's educational space by the ministry.

"We are at the policy review and development stage now, and then we have to
look at the resources required to have this become a reality; but,
certainly, the training at our teachers' colleges will have to be sorted
out," Bernard said.

He told *The Gleaner* that he had asked for the language policy and that a
document has been sent to him, which he's now in the process of perusing.

"But we cannot be talking about making it compulsory yet until we know that
the system is ready to deliver the teaching and learning of any compulsory
second language. It is important to have such policy so we can build out
the infrastructure," he reiterated.

"Having the Cuban teachers coming, as they have been for the past decade,
is the catalyst for what really needs to happen. We really need to have a
robust system to build out the necessary infrastructure, and that must be
guided by a policy," Bernard said.

In addition, he said lecturers and the syllabus to place teachers into the
system, in tandem with the ICT sector, are also needed.

More than 300 Cuban teachers have taught locally in Jamaica as part of the
programme, which has been supported by the Cuban government since its
inception in 1997.

Education Minister Ruel Reid said he was particularly proud of the
important development value of the bilateral agreement between the
governments of Jamaica and Cuba, which has facilitated teachers from Cuba
sharing their vast educational expertise with thousands of Jamaica
teachers, students, administrators, parents, technocrats and other
stakeholders in the system.

"The Ministry of Education will continue to support this programme, and we
hope that it will be expanded in the years to come," he said.


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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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