As the new school year began on Monday, Venezuelan migrants expressed how joyful they are at their children’s acceptance into local schools in the city of Georgetown and across Guyana.
Due to the current economic crisis in the Spanish-speaking neighbouring country, a number of citizens have migrated to Guyana in search of a better life, which includes quality education for their children. Although the problem exists of a possible language barrier, the Guyana’s government has made it an objective to ensure that children of migrants are integrated into the local school system and are properly educated.
Yesterday Kaieteur News met with a few migrants whose children were accepted into various schools across Georgetown such as Sophia Primary School, Diamond Primary School, Ketley Primary School and a few privately-owned institutions namely, the All Star Elementary and the Caribbean First Class Elementary located in Charlotte Street.
These migrants were quite pleased with the efforts made by teachers and the schools to ensure that their children are well-integrated, well-taught and also learning English.
One mother said that her son was enrolled in January and has thus improved in his understanding of the English Language along with other subject areas. She also highlighted that he never spoke English before, but now is able to associate and make friends in his class, and is even teaching her a few words in English. She is also quite grateful to his teacher for her dedication and also to the Government of Guyana for allowing her child the golden opportunity to continue his studies and someday become that engineer he longs to be.
Another woman expressed that her child began studies this month and a local Spanish teacher of the school was assigned to her to ensure that she understands what was taught during the day, and also aids in the translating of her homework.
Other migrants stated that they are quite pleased with the relationship that teachers are building with them in order to ensure their children’s safety and wellbeing in school. They further stated that they noticed major improvements especially in area of understanding and speaking the local language of English.
In an interview with Kaieteur News yesterday, Mr. Brushell Blackman, Senior Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ministry of Education, stated that his Ministry has implemented a Language Training programme for teachers in order to equip them to offer classes in Spanish and other languages, and is currently seeking to broaden or extend this perspective in schools across the country.
He also added that migrants have to go through the mandatory registration process in order to enroll their children, who are then placed in schools that are in proximity to their respective communities, along with the availability of a Spanish teacher in the school’s staff.
Mr. Blackman also went on to highlight that the Ministry is currently in the process of identifying schools that have the most population of Venezuelan migrant-students in order to implement training for teachers among other systems to facilitate better learning for the Venezuelan nationals.
One such school that has a large number of Spanish-speaking students is the Stewartville Secondary School located on the West Coast of Demerara. According to Blackman, this school has been equipped with Spanish teachers not only to teach Spanish as a foreign language, but also to help the Spanish nationals to integrate in the school’s society and curriculum.
He also claimed that the acceptance of the Spanish-speaking migrants into our schools is very beneficial and can be called a mutual relationship, since Spanish is taught as a foreign language in our schools at the CSEC level. In other words, with Spanish-speaking students in local classrooms, the opportunity is there for Guyanese students to have firsthand knowledge of the foreign language through interaction, which will better equip them to be successful at their Spanish exams.
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