Just one day after the launch of a new bilingual initiative, Colombia’s minister of education announced that more than half of the country’s teachers do not speak English.
According to Education Minister Maria Fernanda Campo, “60% of professors [in Colombia] don’t speak English.”
On Thursday, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos presented the National English Program and “Colombia Very Well” initiative, which will focus on enhancing basic education and training for over 12,000 English teachers around the country.
“Achieving these great intentions involves an investment of $690 million over the next 10 years, and I am sure that this is a worthwhile investment,” said Santos.
On Friday, Campos explained the long-term goals of the new program in an interview with Colombia’s Blu Radio, stating that 60% of current educational professionals do not speak English.
With Colombia becoming more competitive in the international market, learning English “is a necessity that we have in Colombia to make ourselves more competitive in this global world,” said Campos.
The new government program hopes to increase the number of English-speaking students at the high-intermediate level by more than 50%. The target goal is 140,000 students, with the current number at 55,000, according to the national El Espectador newspaper.
The plan will also focus on implementing english training for the general workforce.
The 10-year plan will include language immersion training in San Andres, an English-Spanish speaking island-state in Colombia, to help facilitate language learning, Campos told Blue Radio.
Over six-million textbooks will also be supplied to professional educators learning English, and apps for cell phones and tablets will be designed with the aim of implementing bilingualism in Colombia’s education system.