Jamaica’s minister of education, the Honorable Alando Terrelonge, is encouraging parents to be more open to the idea of their children learning Spanish as a second language.
Adding to a comment by Spanish Embassy representative Victoria Garcia that more emphasis should be placed on Spanish as a second language, to increase the marketability of Jamaican students, Terrelonge told Jamaica Information Service News: “Our children are ready, our children want to learn Spanish (and) they are so excited. Our children are naturally curious. They are bright and they want it.”
Terrelonge said that parents should not underestimate their children’s ability to learn the language, as they are willing and able to learn Spanish. “I recognize the importance of Patois as a dialect and I recognize the importance of English. We are an English-speaking country and a Patois-speaking country as well, but we have to think beyond that. We have to start thinking that we are going to empower more of our young persons by letting them learn a foreign language.” He added that it was imperative for Jamaicans to learn the language, as it is the most common in the region. “With Spanish, we will empower our young persons and we will increase their marketability within the region. English is not the most common language in the region, it is Spanish,” he explained.
Jamaica has been in discussions about a policy to address the Spanish curriculum with officials from Spain and Cuba. The Cervantes Institute has been training Jamaican teachers, and nearly 400 Spanish teachers have been recruited from Cuba since 1997, but the Caribbean island is looking to recruit more educators and is considering adding Mexico and Colombia to its recruitment.