Two hundred Ecuadorian teachers are expected to arrive here in January to learn English as a second language, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves announced at a press conference on Monday.
“We have now a memorandum being worked out. I advise that we set up an institute for the teaching of English language within the framework of the Community College,” Gonsalves said.
He explained that the Community College, the country’s main post-secondary institution, is entering on behalf of the government an agreement with the relevant authorities in Ecuador.
“A team has come here already from Ecuador, communications is going on, and come January, we are going to have 200 Ecuadorian teachers. We are calling it — the programme — Go Teacher. That is the programme, through our English language institute,” Gonsalves said.
“They are going to pay us; we are working out the final price to teach them. That is for the Community College to earn some money. They are sending their teachers at the moment to Kansas in the US. They send to St. Vincent. Hopefully, they will send to Dominica too, another ALBA countries. Ecuador is a member of ALBA. They will get it cheaper from us, they will get good quality from us,” Gonsalves said.
He said his government is working with the University of West Indies not only for our domestic accreditation but also but “to get the imprimatur too from the University of the West Indies”.
He said Ecuador is planning to send 400 teachers in September 2015.
“It’s a seven-month programme. They need houses to stay in, apartments, and I am glad, we get a little breathing space so we can put in place measure not just for the teaching but for the housing.”
Gonsalves said Cabinet has agreed in principle to provide concession for persons who want to put on rooms for students and other visitors, or who want to expand or improve their guesthouses, or build apartments.
“Under the law currently, if you build five rooms and you have to provide a common eating area under the current law to get the concessions. One of the things we are going to put in place — and you are going to hear the specific things after next week’s Cabinet — you don’t have to build a common eating area.
“You can have the rooms self-contained with a kitchenette. That is how visitors, students especially, like it, and you will get the concessions. I want to drop the number from five…” Gonsalves said.
He noted that there are already 700 medical students.
“This is an industry which can bring us more money than bananas brought us in the heyday. It wouldn’t have the wide base as bananas had, but in terms of the dollars, the knock on effect and so forth,” Gonsalves said.