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Foreign Language should not be mandatory in schools- E.G. Maduro

Retired civil servant and talk show host Mr Edmund G. Maduro stated that he is in total agreement with French being taught in high schools but it should not be compulsory. Photo: VINO/File
Critics of the announced Foreign Language programme by Hon Myron V. Walwyn (AL) have expressed concern that many students continue to perform poorly in the core subject of English and that should have been the immediate concern for the Minister for Education. Photo: VINO/File
Critics of the announced Foreign Language programme by Hon Myron V. Walwyn (AL) have expressed concern that many students continue to perform poorly in the core subject of English and that should have been the immediate concern for the Minister for Education. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN Tortola, VI - The controversial Honourable Myron V. Walwyn (AL), Minister for Education and Culture, announced during the House of Assembly on June 13, 2017 that two foreign languages, French and Mandarin, will be introduced in selected schools throughout the territory this coming September.

The schools selected to pilot the Mandarin programme are: Ebenezer Thomas Primary, Alexandrina Maduro Primary, Bregado Flax Educational Centre- Primary Division, Enid Scatliffe Pre-Primary, Joyce Samuel Primary, and Enis Adams Primary.

French will be introduced at the high school level and, according to the Minister, the ultimate goal is to make at least one foreign language a compulsory core subject, and a stipulation for meeting secondary school graduation requirements in the next five years.

“The first term of the new academic year 2017, we will be piloting two foreign languages – Mandarin at the early childhood level in Kindergarten to Grade 2, and French at the secondary level in Grades 7 to 9… We cannot delay the inevitable,” Hon Walwyn had said in the House of Assembly on June 13, 2017.

“Considering the resourcefulness to being bi-lingual or multi-lingual in our current economy, it is prudent to start preparing our students for these imminent job offerings, by providing them with opportunities to choose which foreign language or languages they want to pursue, beginning at the start of their school journey. The ultimate goal in this process is to make at least one foreign language a compulsory core subject, and a stipulation for meeting secondary school graduation requirements in the next five years,” added the education minister.

Foreign Language should not be mandatory- E.G. Maduro

In a recent interview with our newsroom, retired civil servant and talk show host Mr Edmund G. Maduro stated that he is in total agreement with French being taught in high schools but it should not be compulsory.

“I’m not against French language being taught in the schools but it should not be mandatory. If the students decide to choose it, then that’s fine,” said Mr Maduro.

He continued, “However, if you go and you make it mandatory, you are going to put too much pressure on the students and they won’t have enough time to attend to what they really want to be and what they really like,” the talk show host explained.

Mr Maduro commented that he is not familiar with the Mandarin language but he is willing to learn more about the language.

“As a matter of fact, I think after English, it should be Spanish. The four most popular languages in the world today are: English, Spanish, French and German. Also, they are the most technical languages in this world that we live in today,” stated Mr. Maduro.

Mandarin is a group of related varieties of Chinese spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. It is by far the largest of the seven or ten Chinese dialect groups.

Critics of the announced programme by Hon Walwyn have expressed concern that many students continue to perform poorly in the core subject of English and that should have been the immediate concern for the Minister for Education.

30 Responses to “Foreign Language should not be mandatory in schools- E.G. Maduro”

  • Teacher (26/06/2017, 09:56) Like (7) Dislike (8) Reply
    Mr. Mauro I agree with you 100%. Why should French be Mandatory? English is one of the most difficult languages to learn and the Hon. Minister wants to introduce Mandarin to Kindergarten to Grade 2. The Spanish speaking students are already having difficulty trying to speak and understand the English language. So why try to put extra pressure on these children. And not only the Spanish children , some of the English speaking children are also having problems because the schools are experiencing alot of students that's having problem reading, writing and understanding especially students with learning disabilities. So I think the Minister need to rethink his decision especially with the Kindergarten and Grade 1. Remember Kindergarten children are those that just left Pre-school.
  • LOL (26/06/2017, 09:59) Like (10) Dislike (2) Reply
    Foreign language should not be mandatory in schools, but it should be mandatory for locals to head up foreign owned businesses with branches in the BVI? LOL!
  • ole head (26/06/2017, 10:08) Like (20) Dislike (3) Reply
    Where there is no vision the people will perish. Great Proverb... this guy should read it more often. This country is afraid of being involved and always want to be culturally correct. We are in need of great exposure as it relates to our generation. More and more businesses work closely with companies in other countries. They need many different kinds of workers who can communicate in different languages and understand other cultures. No matter what career you choose, if you’ve learned a second language, you’ll have a real advantage. A technician who knows Russian or German, the head of a company who knows Japanese or Spanish, or a salesperson who knows French or Chinese can work successfully with much more people and in many more places than someone who knows only one language.
  • teacher john (26/06/2017, 10:40) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Reshuffle your cabinet
  • Will say (26/06/2017, 10:52) Like (22) Dislike (3) Reply
    Whoever want to come down hard on me for saying this can. Outside of the BVI, the children are much more advance in Education. I am so glad I made the choice to let my two children go to school in the US. My son is going to the 11th grade and he is fluent in French and German. My daughter just finish high school and she is fluent in Italian. They had to take the above classes in school. I am with the Minister of Education. The world is getting more advance everyday.

    • BAH (26/06/2017, 20:17) Like (1) Dislike (6) Reply
      You son STILL , ignorant, ignorante
      • Will say (27/06/2017, 00:53) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
        @BAH, you should feel like a damn fool for that comment. Do everyone a favor and please go get some type of education.
  • And you wonder (26/06/2017, 10:58) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    You often wonder why the Chinese kids is so smart. They go to school seven days a week.
    • dude (26/06/2017, 17:21) Like (4) Dislike (10) Reply
      Actually they aren't smarter than anyone else. Them and the Indians both have a more elaborate cheating scheme where they share test results questions and answers. I know b/c I was in classes and studies with them and this is what they did. They even have agencies that can provide fake work histories and credentials for them. Because they are united they appear strong but them being smarter is a myth they are just more unified.
  • concern (26/06/2017, 11:23) Like (5) Dislike (14) Reply

    This person is trying to move too fast. What help will Mandarin be to these islands? Is he trying to be a Donald Trump?He seems to want his name stamped on everything in education in these islands. What is happening here is leaving a mess for others to clean up.. Is he trying to destroy what he met? How is it he thinks students are being better qualified? I am still to hear him encourage reading which is the base for learning.

    • parent (26/06/2017, 13:40) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
      How is it that the Minister of Education is moving to fast? I am with him 100%. The kids can do it. It is also up to the parents to make sure their kids start reading at a early age. Instead of buying them a bunch of toys and video games, buy them books.
  • Not so, Mr. Maduro.... (26/06/2017, 11:37) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    "“As a matter of fact, I think after English, it should be Spanish. The four most popular languages in the world today are: English, Spanish, French and German. Also, they are the most technical languages in this world that we live in today,” stated Mr. Maduro."

    If, in this instance, the word 'popular' denotes 'of the people', then in terms of sheer numbers globally, Mandarin is the number one most widely spoken language, followed by Spanish and with English in third place. Unsurprisingly, this is all based on population figures; even in the Caribbean the MAJORITY language spoken is SPANISH, with English-speakers greatly outnumbered by these because of the sheer size of the majority-Spanish-speaking countries compared to the size of the English-speaking ones.

    It may boost our egos to consider that 'our' language is the dominant one. Indeed, there is a demand throughout the world for English as a SECOND language. But that in no way changes the facts and figures, especially outside of our region. Most importantly, it does not help us to compete to remain cosy and comfortable in our English-speaking bubble in a very globalised world.

    It would benefit us greatly in this territory to STOP looking at the world as only what exists in the Caribbean and the American sphere and start truly looking at the globe AS A WHOLE if we really want to engage and become a serious contender on the world stage. Language acquisition will certainly help us there, as will a willingness to actually engage with other cultures and learn from them as well as teach them what our beautiful Virgin Islands are really about.

    We need to decide once and for all whether we are educating our territory's children to be fishes capable of swimming in the open sea, or whether we are content with letting them 'feel' like big fishes in a small and rapidly shrinking pond.
  • SMH (26/06/2017, 11:47) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply

    BVI mentality! BVI people should be top with respect to International Business operations locally but everything should be done on a local basis. WTF is wrong with these *&%$&?

  • The Chinaman (26/06/2017, 13:03) Like (7) Dislike (3) Reply
    Mandarin is very useful if you talk to oranges.
  • think (26/06/2017, 13:25) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Crazy man you wrong.. Bilingual is a plus, soon it will be a must....Think..
  • SMH (26/06/2017, 14:01) Like (7) Dislike (4) Reply
    Curious as to why this Minister has the power to dictate for the whole Territory! Was there any public forums on this matter? Do the teachers and parents have a say in his opinionated decisions? Well Sah!
  • DON Q (26/06/2017, 14:44) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
    DOES PEOPLESTILL LISTEN TO EDMUND?
  • Law Abiding citizen (26/06/2017, 16:19) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Wrong!! Investing in educating our youth is a wise investment. Simply put.
  • JayEm (26/06/2017, 16:36) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    I agree with the minister that multilingual competency is becoming more and more pertinent to professional growth. However, I do believe that making foreign language a part of the core graduation requirements could put too many students at a disadvantage. A foreign language is hard to master in an English speaking country. Go ahead and make at least one language mandatory, but don't make it a graduation requirement.
  • dude (26/06/2017, 17:23) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Mandarin is not necessary and should be a college elective if anything. Spanish we need b/c a great number of our community is Spanish. French is a growing number as well but not enough to be mandatory.
  • Welsah (26/06/2017, 20:19) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply

    Why they imposed this , right after ...... daughter graduated. Hmm

  • Stargo (27/06/2017, 06:11) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hmmm. The hill man who was in immigration is tri-lingual. What did it this gang and the ps did to him? Bastards.
    • @ stargo (28/06/2017, 22:34) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Only justification to this plain stupidity is hate the NDP hates locals
  • Belonger With A Broader Perspective (27/06/2017, 23:02) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    When will you people ever learn? Strictly speaking to those who oppose the new requirement. The world is bigger than these 22K sq mi. It's not 1817. Tortola catch up or be left behind. Then some of you wonder why work permit holders hold majority of top paid position in the private sector. If you don't know what private sector means, look it up Think about the parents of the Cedar school student body. What jobs do they possess to move and be able to afford that tuition?! Myron keep pushing our kids to excellence. Make the future of the BVI bright.
  • wet (28/06/2017, 22:41) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Funny man doesn't deserve to be in office

  • Message (30/06/2017, 22:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts, absolutely.
  • Just saying (01/07/2017, 18:17) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    If a Chinese baby can learn Chinese and a Spanish baby can learn Spanish, then the best time to learn a language is from Kindergarten. Just saying.


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