Ecuadorean teachers to be taught English at Community College
June 26, 2015
Ecuadorean teachers to be taught English at Community College

The signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would see Ecuadorean teachers being taught English in the Caribbean has been hailed as a “signal event.”

Educators from St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), Dominica, Barbados and Ecuador {{more}}signed the MOU on Monday at Cabinet Room in Kingstown, making way for more than 100 of the Central American teachers to commence the ‘Go Teacher’ programme in the region. Just over 40 of them will be taught English as a second language at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, while others will be trained at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus and the Dominica State College.

The initiative was set in motion less than a year ago, following dialogue between Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves and President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, while both countries were discussing ways of expanding relations, following the floods of December 2013 in SVG.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Camillo Gonsalves informed those present at the signing that “Ecuador is currently embarking on a very ambitious programme, where many of their teachers are educated overseas in English, many of them in the United States and Prime Minister Gonsalves very wisely asked why is Ecuador jumping over the entire English speaking Caribbean to reach the United States for the instruction in English, when we speak perfectly good English right here.

“Between them a plan was devised which was later fleshed out by our respective ministries of education, with input from all of the academic institutions that you see here. Visits were made by the Ecuadorean technocrats and they had conversations under the leadership of our Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Girlyn Miguel, who helped to shape in a very important way, the direction of this agreement.”

The Foreign Minister said that the influx of foreign students is expected to generate income for a number of homeowners and business places here during the seven months that the students are expected to stay.

He said that the programme, which begins in September this year, would also give Vincentians an opportunity to interact with the Ecuadorean culture.

“I hope that this is the beginning of a very fruitful exchange of students.… I hope that we can start sending students to Ecuador for similar cultural exchanges… and I hope that this exchange will benefit not just Ecuador, not just St Vincent and the Grenadines, but the Dominica State College and the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill… all of us together makes this work,” Gonsalves stated.

Representatives from the educational institutions: Nigel Scott of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, Dr Donald Peters of the Dominica State College and Kenneth Walters of UWI, Cave Hill, all lauded the initiative for opening doors and indicated their commitment to the programme, which was described as a partnership long in coming.

Speaking on behalf of the Ecuadorean contingent, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Leonardo Arizaga said that education is high priority for his people, as it is with St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and Dominica and that the initiative was introduced to strengthen solidarity with his country and the other Caribbean countries.