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Baja California English teachers at an IAPE workshop. Baja California English teachers at an IAPE workshop.

International partnership supports training of English teachers in Baja

The goal is to graduate 85,000 students with a high level of ability in English

Educational institutions in the United States have partnered with the state of Baja California in a project whose goal is to raise the standard of English-language education.

The Inter-American Partnership for Education (IAPE) will team up with the University of California San Diego and the Baja California Education Secretariat to train public school teachers through a method initially designed for the U.S. Peace Corps.

The initiative will introduce a seal of biliteracy that will be awarded to graduating students in recognition of a high level of English-language ability.

The IAPE, a partnership between the Rassias Center for World Languages and Cultures at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and Educando by Worldfund, has operated English-language education programs in Mexico since 2007.

The IAPE was selected to implement the teacher training, which began in December with 32 Baja California middle school teachers.

The partnership seeks to support 340 teachers during the next two years and award the biliteracy seal to 85,000 students. IAPE director Jim Citron said that English-language ability is important in Baja California.

“Baja California is located directly south of the California border and over 50,000 out of the state’s 700,000 students in public elementary and middle schools were born in the U.S. By providing tools for English teachers to include and empower English-speaking students as leaders in the classroom, the project is building bridges across cultures and providing opportunities for advancement for all students.”

According to project organizers, Mexican professionals with English-language skills earn on average 28% to 50% more.

The partnership aims to address the findings of a 2015 study by the education advocacy organization Mexicanos Primero that 97% of middle school students do not achieve the English proficiency level established by the Secretariat of Public Education by the time they graduate.

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