(EMU) – St. Kitts, October 06, 2017: Representatives from the Curriculum Development Unit (CDU); Ministry of Education, Heads of Schools and other stakeholders gathered at the Agriculture Conference room on Tuesday to begin discussions on the development of a National Language Policy.The consultation was one component of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) sponsored Early Learners Programme (ELP) geared at improving reading proficiency among the youngest primary school cohort. It is being conducted in collaboration with and as part of a larger programme of the Ministry of Education’s Curriculum review and assessment. Chief Education Officer, Dr Tricia Esdaille, and main facilitator for the Consultation noted that focus was placed on the development of a strategy that would bridge the learning gap between the home language/dialect which is most of the student’s first language and internationally recognized Standard English.
“We are going to be looking at the home language and its implications for learning in the school system. We will look at how children transition from the use of the home language,” Dr Esdaille explained. “We want to talk about the changes that are necessary to ensure that the transition for children is a successful one [and] that children are able to develop the skills and competencies that they need to communicate, to write and to speak using internationally accepted English.”
Jaquelyn Bassue, Focal Point of the Early Learners Programme stated that because a language policy directs the way teaching and learning is done in the classroom it is critical to the advancement of literacy at the primary school level.
“The ELP has identified seven areas that can positively impact teaching and learning and by extension student reading. One of these components is developing a language policy.”
Both the ELP focal point and the Chief Education officer cited the importance of developing the Language Policy as part of the larger programme of activities which surround the review and revision of the curriculum assessment framework of the Education system.