JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry is engaged in a process of curriculum review.
  • The review will involve improvements in the alignment and content of all foreign language studies.
  • Teachers urged to engage their students in other languages apart from the English language.

Education Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, says that the Ministry is engaged in a process of curriculum review, which will involve improvements in the alignment and content of all foreign language studies.

“New assessments will be based on new attainment targets, which will involve speaking, reading, writing and listening with understanding. We will soon be able to dream in Spanish and the other languages as well,” he stated.

The Minister was speaking on September 27 at the Foreign Languages annual general meeting at the Ministry’s Caenwood Centre Auditorium in Kingston.

He stressed the need for Jamaican students to learn a second language in order to take advantage of the numerous scholarship and employment opportunities being offered both regionally and internationally.

He argued that learning another language enables students to relate to other cultures, expand opportunities for employment and scholarships, and sharpen skills in their own tongue.

“Our challenge is to break out of the arrogance of English. We believe that everyone must speak our language, without recognising that our own opportunity, personally and nationally, is to be as flexible as possible in the development of a knowledge economy, which no longer has just French and Spanish roots, but also must include European and Asian languages,” Rev. Thwaites stated.

He is imploring teachers to engage their students in other languages apart from the English language in order to expand their view of the world.

“Teachers, we must begin to educate our people to seek these broader horizons that are available,” he said. “There is a need to equip ourselves of as many foreign languages as possible, as this will help us to gain employment within the Caribbean and beyond its shores,” he added.

The Minister said he welcomed representatives from the various consulates and embassies into the schools to ensure that students are aware of not only the language traditions, but the general culture of these foreign countries.

He further lauded the work of the foreign language teachers, pointing out that more candidates are now sitting Spanish and French in the Caribbean Examination Certificate (CXC) and that the rate of acceptable passes in both languages is moving in the right direction.