Over 3000 migrants enrolled in local schools, revised curriculum to include Spanish – Edu. Minister

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana
Education Minister Priya Manickchand

Over 3000 migrant children from countries like Venezuela, and Trinidad and Tobago are currently enrolled in Guyana’s School system, and steps will be taken to have the national curriculum revised to include Spanish.

This was disclosed by Education Minister, Priya Manickchand, during a press conference earlier today.

She noted that the majority of the migrant learners are enrolled in primary schools across the country, where they are benefitting from quality education, hot meals and other forms of assistance being provided to Guyanese learners.

This comes at a time when the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) government is forging ahead with plans to make Spanish a commonly used language in Guyana, and by extension in schools.

Minister Manickchand underscored the importance of education in the modern world and explained that her ministry’s policy of no child left behind applies to school-aged migrant learners.

In this regard, she explained that works are ongoing to integrate them into the classroom.

“For the first time last year, we did NGSA and because we have such a high migrant population, we offer the students who speak or derived from a Spanish-speaking country, Cuba or Venezuela, the ability to write their papers in Spanish so they could have read it in Spanish and written in English, or read English and written in Spanish… And we actually saw the children doing a lot better when we offer that humane pathway.”

Meanwhile, it was also revealed that the Ministry of Education through its Distance Learning Department and Literacy Unit at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD), will be revising the primary and secondary school curriculum to include Spanish and improve literacy among learners.

The first phase of this initiative will see the ministry equipping learners with certain Spanish resources in their independent book bags including a Spanish dictionary and Spanish texts that are age-appropriate.

The second phase will see teachers being trained to administer Spanish in schools through the provision of curated material which will produced by the ministry.

“This same NCERD here, the productions unit has created material that could be used by even non-Spanish speaking teachers to bring us to a place where we could give basic Spanish instruction.”

“So, the intention of the president which is to make us a bilingual country, we’re trying to meet that intention with the resources we have Coursera who with whom we have engagement that was launched at a stadium is designing courses for Spanish for all of our teachers. So, all of our teachers are going to get training on the Coursera platform to deliver Spanish in their classrooms.”

According to Minister Manickchand, the revised curriculum and other components of the project will be instituted in the new term come September.

In 2023, President Dr Irfaan Ali had announced that Spanish would become a mandatory subject in primary schools as part of the government’s commitment to enhance education at all levels across the country.