Portuguese being considered by schools

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A pilot project from Ministerio de Educación Pública seeks to include the Portuguese language as a new option for students in some high schools. The objective is to evaluate its viability to become  part of the foreign language curriculum.

The courses will be taught through workshops delivered by volunteers whose native language is Portuguese. The purpose is to encourage students to achieve greater command of their skills without neglecting the other languages they already study in the classroom.

In the Costa Rican public secondary school system, students are currently required to take English and French as mandatory foreign languages until the age of 15. Then they choose one of them to focus on for their last two years of study.

Named Falemos Portugues, the project seeks the implementation of an inclusive education model, in response to the diversity and multiculturalism, the ministry said in a statement.

During this first phase of the process, a total of 204 students will get a 3-hour weekly course. The classes will be delivered outside their regular schedule, including Saturdays. The students were selected following a test and an interview where they explained their interest in the language.

They come from six high schools: Colegio Técnico Profesional de Pavas, Colegio Técnico Profesional de Santa Ana, Liceo Experimental Biligue de San Ramón, Liceo Experimental Bilingüe de Grecia, Liceo Experimental Bilingüe de Belén  and Colegio Técnico Profesional de Educación Comercial y de Servicios.

The initiative also seeks to honor the Brazil-Costa Rica Cultural Exchange Agreement, signed in 1964, said Mauricio Azofeifa, spokesperson of the Ministerio de Educación Pública.

At the end of the process, those interested may apply for internships in companies that offer services in Portuguese, most of them call centers. The ministry will also encourage students to seek for scholarships offered by the Brazilian Ministry of Education, once they get their international certification.

The high schools were picked up taking into consideration how close they are to business centers able to offer them job opportunities. Ministry officials also took into consideration whether this place had the adequate infrastructure, physical space and dedicating resources.

The first wave of graduates from the program are expected to face the International Test of Portuguese Language during the first semester of 2019. Those who pass the exam, will acquire either an A2 or B1 certification in the Common European Framework of Languages.

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