Guyana’s President, Dr Irfaan Ali, revealed today that Spanish will become a compulsory subject in the country’s school system starting in September.
Speaking about the importance of Spanish proficiency, President Ali shared a personal regret about not having pursued that language during his secondary school years. Recognizing Guyana’s position in South America, where it interacts with predominantly Spanish-speaking countries, President Ali emphasized the need to prepare the country’s youth for international competitiveness.
Acknowledging the significance of acquiring a second language for securing international jobs and fostering a highly-skilled workforce, President Ali urged both schools and the private sector to prioritize Spanish for students and employees.
President Ali further disclosed his intention to introduce compulsory Spanish classes for the cabinet, possibly held at midnight to accommodate their schedules. In addition, the government plans to explore the possibility of launching an online platform to facilitate Spanish language learning for interested Guyanese citizens. The President also highlighted the presence of Spanish-speaking employees in many stores along Regent Street, underlining the growing demand for Spanish language proficiency in various sectors.
To ensure a smooth transition, President Ali has requested a comprehensive assessment of the country’s current capabilities. Preliminary evaluations indicate sufficient capacity, particularly at the secondary level, to incorporate compulsory Spanish instruction. Furthermore, bilateral partners have been engaged to provide assistance in terms of human resources during this transitional period.
President Ali also expressed his desire to commence the Spanish language program at least from grade five, with potential plans to begin as early as grade four. Leveraging technology, the government aims to develop an online platform that will facilitate Spanish language training through the use of digital learning channels.
With a firm belief in Guyana’s capacity to implement this initiative, President Ali said he remains committed to introducing compulsory Spanish in schools by September. The introduction of Spanish language instruction at an early stage is expected to equip Guyanese students with the necessary language skills and foster a more competitive workforce in an increasingly interconnected global landscape.