Guyana to make Spanish compulsory in schools

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – The Guyana government Wednesday announced that it would be making Spanish a compulsory subject in schools come September, as well as turning to Cuba to deal with a shortage of nurses in the health care system.

Speaking at a news conference, President Dr Irfaan Ali, told reporters that his administration is also examining the possibility of hiring Spanish teachers from overseas to ensure the project is a success.

Ali said he is in the process of getting a full assessment of the number of local teachers capable of teaching Spanish, noting that while there may be capacity at the secondary level, his desire, however, is for students from Grade Four or Five to begin taking classes in the subject.

He said to meet the demand the government is in talks with “bilateral partners to loan human resources” in the period of transition until Guyanese teachers can fill the need across the country.

Ali said he would also be moving to have ministers of government take Spanish language classes and he hopes that the private sector would follow suit.

The Head of State said that the government is considering developing an online platform so that any citizen who wishes to learn the language can do so, expressing his own regret at having to drop Spanish as a subject in secondary school.

He said that learning a foreign language will help to make students more marketable when they enter the world of work.

Ali also announced that the government was looking to Havana to help deal with a shortage of nurses.

He said he held talks earlier Wednesday with the Cuban Ambassador to Guyana “to see if we can get Cuban nurses to come into the system now in the immediate period to help to fill that gap because of the immediate shortage that we have.

“The medium and long term is to train and retrain and train more than the capacity than we need,” he said.

He noted that the entire Caribbean is in the grips of a major shortage of nurses and other healthcare workers.

Nationally, the public health sector has a shortage of at least 1,300 nurses.

Last December, the Guyana government increased the salaries of all categories of health workers.

Photo: Guyanese President Irfaan Ali speaking at a news conference on July 12. – CMC photo.

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