Colombia’s education minister has introduced the first 124 foreign English teachers who are set to help public schools to improve the English proficiency of students.
The new program is designed to benefit some 30,240 Colombian students primarily in the ninth, 10th and 11th grades.
The initiative will initially see 124 foreigners, from 23 different countries, volunteering to teach English across 20 Colombian cities in a total of 71 educational institutions.
Two hundred more foreigners will be added to the program in June.
The idea is that the foreign volunteers will provide assistance to local teachers in their classrooms during English classes. In return they receive a monthly $700 compensation fee.
The project is a collaboration between the Ministry of Education’s “English Teaching Fellowship Program” and volunteer organization Heart for Change.
“This initiative will strengthen year after year and will become an enriching and unforgettable experience for our students, our teachers and for the foreigners who have accepted the challenge of coming to Colombia, to work for our youth and contribute to the building of peace,” Education minister Gina Parody said.
“We want a serious program that allows us to hone our teachers every year, so they can constantly practice and that our students can have direct contact with them,” said Parody to the new volunteers and press in Bogota.
“As never before, education will have the place of honor that it deserves,” said Parody.
Parody added that bilingualism is one of the ministry’s key strategies in the improvement of Colombia’s education system.
Strategies geared toward bilingualism will be combined with single day teaching programs, teaching excellence, quality higher education and the eradication of illiteracy in Colombia, Parody said in her address.
“In Colombia, only one percent of college students from the official sector will achieve an intermediate level B1 at the end of high school,” Parody added in her speech yesterday.