St Lucia: The Department of Education, Innovation & Gender Relations of St Lucia is continuing effort on the development of the National Language Policy for the small island country.
The value of such a policy came within the sharp focus on the observance of International Mother Language Day. Observed by UNESCO annually on Feb. 21, the theme for International Mother Language Day for 2021 is, “Fostering Multilingualism for Inclusion in Education & Society.”
The occasion zoomed in on the value of an individual’s first language, indigenous language, or native language, insisting that instruction of such languages should start in the early years.
The Curriculum & Materials Development Unit (CAMDU) of the Department of Education, Innovation & Gender Relations has secured funding from education partner, UNESCO, to plan an Implementation Plan for the application of the Saint Lucia National Language Policy.
Angel Caglin, CAMDU’s Curriculum Officer for the English Language, said: “The policy has four primary purposes as it relates to our native language, Kweyol. First that Kweyol is an official language.
Second, the language of instruction & that all pupils will be bilingual by the end of primary school & that they will be bi-literate by the end of secondary school, meaning they will be capable of reading and writing in the Kweyol Language as in the English Language.”
The National Language Policy is being grown under the OECS USAID Early Learners Programme in order to mark the language needs of students in the early grades.
The St Lucia Early Learners Programme continues to develop literacy competence in both students’ home and school languages.
The Implementation Plan will draw how the National Language Policy will be applied to education, including the timeline for implementation & the associated costs.
CAMDU has been appealing to stakeholders (Education Officers/personnel, Principals/ Vice-Principals, teachers, pupils, parents) in consultation on the policy. This Sensitization Program is essential, as participants will continue into phase three, to engage in the development of the implementation plan.
AS part of this programme, natives of St Lucia are invited to download and read the Draft National Language Policy. There are questions to guide individuals’ understanding & to solicit any feedback that one may have.