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St. Lucia to integrate Creole language into all schools

InternationalSt. Lucia to integrate Creole language into all schools

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Tues. Apr. 5, 2022– In working towards fully integrating Kweyol into the country’s schooling system, St. Lucian education officials have created a Language Education Policy and Plan which was presented to education officers, principals, and other stakeholders this week during a consultation forum. Also presented was a Draft Implementation Plan which will be used to move the policy forward and which focuses on teacher professional development, curriculum and assessment, resource acquisition, and development and research.

According to St. Lucia Times News, the move to integrate the vernacular language, known locally as Patwa (Patois), into schools is being made in an effort to ensure that students are bi-lingual by the end of primary school and bi-literate by the end of secondary school, after which they would be as fluent in Kweyol as they are in English—particularly in the areas of reading and writing. The initiative, which was conceptualized by the language department of St. Lucia’s Curriculum and Materials Development Unit (CAMDU) in the Department of Education and is being funded by UNESCO, also seeks to address the language needs of students in early education.

Speaking at the presentation of the Language Education Policy and Plan was Ms. Marcia Symphorien, the Secretary-General for the St. Lucia National Commission for UNESCO, who remarked that the initiative will not only foster multilingualism in the country but also contribute to achieving the UN’s fourth Sustainable Development Goal: leaving no one behind.

“Specifically, the project addresses a very important issue of the status of the Creole language within the education system. The key objective being the development of an implementation plan which would essentially transform policy into action, paper into practice,” she stated.

The policy and implementation plan were presented on Tuesday, April 5, to education officials and other stakeholders, who were given an opportunity to offer their feedback and suggestions on the policy before its implementation.

“Overall, our goal is to ensure that our learners, who are the most important clients in this process, benefit from their tenure within the school system. And, of course, teachers are very critical to learners achieving learning objectives within the classroom,” commented Dr. Kathy Depradine, the head of the Modern Language Learning Unit at Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.

Discussions and consultations regarding the National Language Education Policy and the Implementation Plan will continue up until July of this year, when it is expected to be officially presented.

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