Ministry of Education hints at plans to introduce Mandarin to other secondary schools

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By Carlena Knight

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Discussions are underway to extend the foreign language program in schools.

This expansion will see Mandarin being taught in other schools in addition to Sir Novelle Richards Academy, which is to date the only public school in Antigua and Barbuda to have an official Mandarin department.

According to Director of Education Clare Browne, plans are in place for the language to be taught in other secondary schools as well.

However, the missing element, he said, is the number of teachers in this field.

“We need to have Mandarin teachers to deliver it to the 13 public secondary schools we have. At the moment we haven’t had, at least I don’t know of any applications that have come to us to teach Mandarin and so once we are able to find teachers,” Browne said.

He explained that there should be at least two to three Mandarin teachers, depending on the size of the school.

Because of this need, the principal has called for those interested in teaching the language to apply for the Ministry of Education.

“I know that several people here in Antigua and Barbuda would have studied in China…and if they are interested in applying to be a Mandarin teacher at one of our schools, please apply.

“We would like to take Mandarin to other schools. I was actually just discussing with the vice principal and Mrs. Mills the other day about taking Mandarin because they started sort of a pathway at Glanvilles secondary and so, we wanted to put it there in a definitive, kind of way . Once resources permit, once we can find a human resource, we will release it as quickly as possible,” Browne added.

Browne was speaking Thursday morning at the press conference to announce this year’s CSEC results.

Last year, the CEO of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), Dr. Wayne Wesley, hinted at plans for the inclusion of Mandarin in the region.

Mandarin is a group of Sinitic (“Chinese”) languages ​​and dialects that are natively spoken throughout much of northern and southwestern China.

French and Spanish are the two modern languages ​​that are usually taught in the CSEC curriculum, but in 2017, 65 students from Barbados and Guyana registered for the exam to write Portuguese for the first time.

In 2013, Guyana became the first country to have taught Portuguese in secondary schools.

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