Panama keen on education linkages
PANAMA IS SEEKING to strengthen cooperation with Barbados by creating linkages in the area of education.
This was indicated yesterday as Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Ronald Jones and officials of his ministry met with Panama’s Minister of Education Marcela Paredes de Vásquez, and her delegation on the margins of the CARICOM summit.
“We want to strengthen our relationship through education by the training in English of our teachers, as part of an important programme in our country, called “Panama Bilingual” or “Bilingual Panama”.
“We are looking to Barbados for the training of our students who are finishing high school in English and the hospitality industry. Panama has many goals to develop a stronger tourism industry, and Barbados has the experience and the language in which it is strategic for our country to develop this industry,” Paredes de Vásquez said.
The Panamanian official further explained that her country hoped to send 10 000 teachers to some English-speaking countries for an immersion programme in English. Stating that the United States, United Kingdom and Canada were already participating, she said that it was expected that training in Barbados would also be realised.
Ms Paredes de Vásquez noted that less than 15 per cent of Panama’s population was proficient in English, and it was strategic that they learn the language, given its importance in commerce, business and science.
Disclosing that talks between her delegation and the University of the West Indies had been fruitful, she said the Department of Education in the Faculty of Humanities had indicated that the programmes could be developed.
She added that she hoped the courses in Barbados would start by January next year, with an initial number of 40 Panamanian teachers and students.
Jones said that training opportunities could also be derived from the Barbados Community College and Erdiston Teachers’ Training College. He gave his Panamanian counterpart the assurance that the programmes required to start in January would commence, and stressed that the necessary agreements to facilitate their smooth transition would be put in place. (JG/BGIS)