Antigua hints at plans to teach Chinese in schools

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

(OBSERVER by Newsco) Discussions are underway to expand the foreign language curriculum in schools.

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

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

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

“We have to have Mandarin teachers to spread it across all the 13 public secondary schools that we have. At this time, we have not had, at least I do not know of any application that has come before us for teaching 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 plant.

Due to this need, the director made a call for persons interested in teaching the language to apply at the Ministry of Education.

“I know several persons here in Antigua and Barbuda would have studied in China … and if they are interested in offering themselves to be a teacher of Mandarin in any of our schools, feel free to apply.

“We would love to take Mandarin to other schools. As a matter of fact, I was just discussing with the deputy director and Mrs Mills the other day of taking Mandarin because they have started a kind of sort of way at Glanvilles Secondary and so, we wanted to put it there in a definitive, kind of way. Once the resources allow, once we are able to find a human resource, we will spread it as quickly as we can,” Browne added.

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

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

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

French and Spanish are the two modern languages which are generally taught for 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 Portuguese taught in secondary schools.