The Department of Education, Innovation and Gender Relations is continuing work on the development of a National Language Policy for Saint Lucia.
The importance of such a policy came into sharp focus on the observance of International Mother Language Day. Celebrated by UNESCO annually on Feb. 21, the theme for International Mother Language Day Creole this year is, “Fostering Multilingualism for Inclusion in Education And Society.” The occasion zoomed in on the importance of individual’s first language, indigenous language or native language emphasizing that instruction of such languages should begin in the early years.
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The Curriculum and Materials Development Unit (CAMDU) of the Department of Education, Innovation and Gender Relations has secured funding from education partner, UNESCO, to design an Implementation Plan for the application of the Saint Lucia National Language Policy.
Angel Caglin, CAMDU’s Curriculum Officer for English Language said: “The policy has four main goals as it relates to our native language, Kweyol (Creole). First that Kweyol is an official language. Second, a language of instruction and that all students will be bilingual by the end of primary school and that they will be bi-literate by the end of secondary school, meaning they will be able to read and write in the Kweyol Language as in the English Language.”
The National Language Policy is being developed under the OECS USAID Early Learners Programme in order to address the language needs of students in the early grades. The Saint Lucia Early Learners Programme continues efforts in developing literacy competence in both students’ home and school languages. The Implementation Plan will outline how the National Language (Creole) Policy will be applied to education, including the timeline for implementation, and the associated costs.
CAMDU has been engaging stakeholders (Education Officers/personnel, Principals/ Vice-Principals, teachers, students, parents) in consultation on the policy. This Sensitization Program is important, as participants will continue into phase three, to engage in the development of the implementation plan.
As part of this programme, Saint Lucians are invited to download and read the Draft National Language Policy. There are questions to guide individuals’ understanding and to solicit any feedback that one may have.
To access these documents, visit www.camdu.edu.lc/