English is a priority for the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Education

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    The goal is that all teachers in public schools have and keep a very high proficiency level of English.

    The Ministry of Public Education is aware that the English curriculum needs upgrading to fulfill the academic needs of the students in public schools. In this regard, the government has decided to make some in the curriculum to put it in line with the new content and teaching methods. Changes started from first to seventh grade, but new modifications are expected for the upper grades.

    According to Ana Isabel Campos, the national English advisor, graduating more than 1 million bilingual students every year is a challenge, although she hopes that goal can be reached.

    “We are aware that the country needs students with a higher level of English. It is the first time that we count on a curriculum which is in accordance with international standards. Let’s see how it works” – Campos said.

    Additionally, the Ministry of Public Education expects an A1 for six graders and a B1 or B2 for secondary school students.

    “It would be a great achievement for the country if we manage to get graduates with a B1 or B2 in English by 2021. We want our students in public schools to speak English as well as those who study in private educational centers” – Campos said.

    Teachers “rush” to improve their English

    Campos explained that the 60% of teachers in public schools have B2-C1 in English, 20% B1 and the other 20% has an A2-A1 level.

    “If teachers don’t have the required proficiency level of English, we won’t be able to reach our goals. For this reason, we are looking to have teachers with an intermediate or upper – intermediate level of English. We are providing courses to the teachers who don’t have the required command of the language”

    The advisor also remarked that local universities should also consider upgrading their curriculum to form teachers with a better insight into English as well as with innovative teaching strategies.

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