The federal government has job openings for 1,020 “highly proficient” English teachers to staff Mexico’s teacher training colleges.
The federal Education Secretariat (SEP) is to announce today an 800-million-peso (US $44.5 million) National English Strategy that intends to produce high school graduates who are proficient in English in 20 years’ time.
The first step will be to recruit 1,020 English teachers and train 127 who are already in place at teacher training schools, known as normal schools.
An important element, not surprisingly, is that “all teachers must speak English,” something that is not currently the case as studies have found that many teachers assigned to give English classes have limited command of the language.
In 20 years’ time, high school graduates will be expected to have attained a B2 intermediate level, following the international standards of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL).
A B2-level English student can understand the main ideas of complex text, interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity with native speakers, can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and can explain a viewpoint on a topical issue giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
For the SEP, English is an “essential tool that tool that facilitates dialogue in an increasingly interconnected world, for both students and teachers.”
To achieve its goals, the Education Secretariat will promote learning English throughout the entire educational trajectory of Mexican students, from preschool to high school.
English will not only be taught as a second language but through teaching other subjects in it as well.
Along with classroom teaching, the SEP intends to make use of new electronic and digital educational materials and a long-distance education platform known as Learning Management System (LMS).
The federal education strategy is designed to “remove all barriers keeping students from being proficient in English.” To this end, the SEP will design special programs and materials for indigenous students, who will receive textbooks in their languages, and will learn English as a third language.
The Education Secretariat has signed collaboration agreements with international institutions such as England’s University of Cambridge, which has already updated study plans and designed them to teach English as a second language.
The embassies of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States will also collaborate by evaluating the quality of English teaching.
Along with the Mexico-United States Commission for Educational & Cultural Exchange (Comexus), the SEP will promote scholarships in the two countries, while the National Association of Universities and Higher Education Institutions (ANUIES) and the Federation of Mexican Private Institutions of Higher Education will promote teacher training efforts.
Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño told Radio Fórmula that the English strategy is a process, observing that Mexico’s public education system is “gigantic,” being one of the world’s five largest with 34 million students.