Foreign languages to be compulsory up to Grade Nine
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is looking to make foreign languages compulsory for students from grades one to nine.
Portfolio Minister Ruel Reid said the move forms part of the Ministry's foreign language policy in schools.
"I have already signalled to my ministry to come up with a strategy of how we are going to ensure that foreign languages are part of our primary curriculum," he said. Reid was addressing the annual general meeting of the National Association of Spanish Teachers and the Jamaica Association of French Teachers at the Caenwood Centre in Kingston on Friday. He noted that the plan is for students "to do a menu of foreign languages" up to third form. He said the hope is that teachers will employ ingenious ways to impart the languages in order to capture students' interest so that they will be encouraged to specialise after grade nine.
Reid pointed out that having a second language is an asset in the global labour market, adding that a multilingual labour force will better position the country for new areas of investments and trade. Reid thanked the various embassies, such as France, Spain, Chile, Cuba, Venezuela and Brazil, and organisations such as the Spanish-Jamaica Foundation and the Organization of American States, for their support to the country in the teaching and learning of various languages over the years.