Saint Lucian students are expected to become more competent in local languages, as policy makers work together to address the language of instruction issues in education.
The Department of Education, Innovation and Gender Relations, following a Language Policy and Instruction conference held recently, aims to prepare a framework guiding the development of language education policies in Saint Lucia.
Deputy Permanent Secretary Michelle Charles said the conference is timely and relevant as it plays a significant part in providing a solid foundation for quality education in Saint Lucia.
“We are all familiar with the results and impacts of not having a national language policy. Concerned about the poor performance of children at the primary and secondary school levels are always being expressed. There are also reports that speak to the unacceptable rate of functional illiteracy among our school leavers. The need for curricula that allow for cultural and linguistic diversity therefore cannot be overemphasized. To continue as is, means that we are continuing to disadvantage our students for whom English is not a first language,” said Ms. Charles.
A team from Saint Lucia visited Haiti to gain knowledge and experience about the development and expansion of local languages in their education system.
Representative for the OECS Commission Marcellus Albertin expressed the hope that the team benefitted from the experience and can utilize the knowledge to develop a plan for St. Lucia.
“We feel confident that this movement, what we have started in trying to build our language policy, this relationship which has started with Haiti, we believe that it will be successful for several reasons. Number one, is the common history and more importantly, the common culture and there is a language experience between St. Lucia, Haiti and Dominica which I think you will hear a lot about in this conference that will assure me that what we are trying to do our the next few days with certainly succeed,” said the OECS Commission representative.
The Saint Lucia Language Policy and Instruction Conference was spearheaded by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States OECS, through the Education Development Management Unit (EDMU).