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Fitzgerald Backs Return Of Spanish And Literature To Syllabus

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Jerome Fitzgerald

SPANISH and Literature examinations will be re-introduced at the Bahamas Junior Certificate level during the 2012-2013 academic year.

According to Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald, this is in keeping with the government's promise to equip Bahamians with 21st century skills and education.

Mr Fitzgerald told parliamentarians during his contribution to the Budget Debate that beginning September 2012, students entering grade seven will begin three-year preparations for Spanish and Literature BJC examinations.

"In reference to Literature, it is expected that by exposing our students to a mandatory prescribed in-depth study of various literary forms at the junior high level, we will undoubtedly see improvements in comprehension, critical thinking, writing and speaking skills and rekindle an interest in reading, thereby producing a more literate population," said Minister Fitzgerald.

As the Bahamas seeks to promote expansion of the tourism industry, strengthen the financial services sector and provide Bahamian students with the skills or education required to compete for "good" jobs in the 21st century, proficiency in a second language is of paramount importance, he said.

"Fluency in Spanish is an imperative not only because of our proximity to South Florida and Latin America, but because we are now seeing a greater influx of Spanish speaking visitors coming to our shores. The new BJC Spanish examination will be modelled on the BGCSE examination and will seek to develop speaking, listening and writing skills."

Spanish and Literature have not been tested at the BJC level since 1992.

Comments

242352 7 years, 2 months ago

EXCELENT MOVE, very good job.

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positiveinput 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes very good, and try don't sit next to Mr Bell cause like in a classroom he will only distract you.

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concernedcitizen 7 years, 2 months ago

good job ,i agree don,t sit next to Bell

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Arob 7 years, 2 months ago

Minister, the critical national problems in education are literacy and numeracy (our mathematics and English speaking, reading and writing abilities). Our citizens need to be competent in these two subjects. These are the educational foundations for a growing economy in an English speaking country. In my humble opinion, English Literature can be integrated into English Language where students are graded on both their ability to write (coherence, clarity etc.) and their thinking skills.

Encouraging our children to read does not require an additional course. Again, reading interesting books and poetry (written in standard English not dialect) can be integrated into English Language. Moreover this can be a part of the summer programme.

YOUR REASONING: Spanish is a good idea, but one would think that visitors look for an authentic Bahamian experience. (If they are not looking for an authentic Bahamian vacation, we need to reexamine our tourism advertising). A part of the Bahamian experience is speaking the English Language.
Also, our national focus should not be on acquiring a second language in order to "spend our money" in South Florida (boost the South Florida economy).

Please give all Bahamian citizens (children) a chance to succeed ---- let them spend more class time in English Language and Mathematics. Let's raise the national competency in English Language and Mathematics.

I recommend that we look for innovative ways to integrate numeracy and literarcy throughout the curriculum.

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Bril 7 years, 2 months ago

Good points Arob. One thing I must say though a return to Literature is a good idea. I had no idea it wasn't in the current curriculum. Literature really makes you analyze things and really understand situations in context. There is a lot of hyperbole and paradox in literature that challenges kids to think. In combination with Math and English I think Literature is a good start. Does anyone remember Animal Farm? In recent years I think high school literature courses have begun using Caribbean texts like 'The Pearl.' Anyway its a good start but the entire structure of our education system must be overhauled.

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positiveinput 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes Arob you make a good point. Still for a tourist speaking a foreign language (spanish) do you think that at some point their english comprehension would leave them handicap. If our citizens are only equipt with english what assistance could we offer to a tourist with limited english comprehension. Its not a matter of boosting the South Florida economy, its a matter of being able to literally accommodate the South Florida travellers to boost our Bahamian economy. Just say you was to travel to a spanish speaking country, how you think your trip would be if not even the cab driver, hotel front desk agent or travel agents to return home would be if no one knew english?

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Arob 7 years, 2 months ago

This is a part of travelling... experiencing language, food etc. Learning new language is part of the anticipation.

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MartGM 7 years, 2 months ago

I have to disagree with you Arob. Having traveled quite a bit (and knowing only a little of Spanish and French), it's always refreshing to find someone who speaks your language. I spent a part of my degree studies in Europe and those students know at minimum 2 languages (their own and English). That's a PLUS in any job market. In the tourism industry you must be well versed in a foreign language(s). Furthermore it's proven that learning languages increases your capacity to think analytically...and well you will more than likely earn more money knowing a second language.

Yes people enjoy learning new things while they travel...but language barriers can be more of a frustration and less of a good experience.

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positiveinput 7 years, 2 months ago

So on YOUR trips you expect to learn and comprehend a whole new language in mere days. Just say your trip was for a month, what was the purpose, to learn a new language or vacation. Might as well took Fitzgerald up on his opportunity to learn it right at home. Meant for Arob

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concernedcitizen 7 years, 2 months ago

a second language is good ,but the priority should be lit,and the english language ,,its one thing to speak w/ a unique accent ,but this street jargon today leaves our youth ill prepared for any job that requires communication

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Arob 7 years, 2 months ago

What do you mean by a second language? Proficiency?
BJC Spanish is not about proficiency. We do have BGCSE Spanish and French.
I am not condemning liberal arts. I studied in our public high school (not Government High) and I was educated with a liberal arts background. I have BJC and GCE Spanish. I also have English Literature at these levels and at the undergraduate level.
ENGLISH LITERATURE AND CRITICAL THINKING: I have yet (during my research) to see the link between English literature and critical thinking. Critical thinking and mathematics and sciences but not English Literature. And yes, I studied Julius Caesar and Macbeth etc. Unfortunately, I do not see a national urgency (big speech from the House of Assembly, headline etc. about the re-introduction of Spanish and English Literature in BJC).
TOURISM AND SPANISH: I doubt that our children will be learning (at the BJC Level) Spanish for hotel workers or Spanish for distributive marketing.
Stopping "broken English (disguised as Bahamianese) in literature, in forums such as this, talk shows etc. will go a long way toward removing the street jargon from the next generation.

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positiveinput 7 years, 2 months ago

Stopping "broken English (disguised as Bahamianees), in forums such as this , talk shows etc... yet, this is a part of travelling... experiencing language... those where two of your points, so If thats how the majority of Bahamian talk, then thats Bahamianees. So the few whom speak different are the ones in disguised.

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Prim 7 years, 2 months ago

Arob, I disagree with you. To be able to analyze a piece of poetry, carefully identifying, dissecting and categorizing each use of figurative language and to be able to carefully conceptualize a piece of literary genius (i.e. Shakespeare, Harper Lee, Cherly Albury, William Golding etc) requires and reinforces your critical thinking skills, so i don't know how you're "unable to see the link between English literature and critical thinking". Also, by the time as I finished 9th grade Spanish (2005) i was fairly capable of communicating with tourists as I did work study at the min of tourism welcome center and conversed with a few spanish natives off of the cruise ships. However, the point of teaching and testing 9th graders Spanish isn't to ensure that they go out into the world, at that time, and communicate with the tourists. However, the sooner they begin to acquire the language, and the more they study/practice it, when they do graduate and enter the work world, they will be equipped to speak "Spanish for hotel workers or Spanish for distributive marketing". On that note, introducing these disciplines back into the BJC was a good move Minister!

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