The “Go Teacher” programme under which Ecuadorian teachers study English overseas, will begin operations in St. Vincent and the Grenadines this September, Minister of Foreign Affairs Camillo Gonsalves has said.
The programme, which is also executed at universities in the Unites States, was initially scheduled to begin in SVG last January, but was postponed.
Gonsalves said that the “Go Teacher” programme is collaboration among the SVG Community College, the University of the West Indies in Barbados and the Dominica State College.
He said SVG has been designated as the primary spot where Ecuadorians will be learning English.
“But we do not currently have all the capacity we will need in terms of teachers and classrooms space to manage all that they want to send initially.”
He said about 50 Ecuadorians teachers will come SVG this year and will take class at SVGCC and the government hopes to grow the programme from there.
SVG has received “feelers” from other Latin American allies who want to send their students to SVG to learn English, Gonsalves said.
“We are trying to get our own teachers formally trained in the teaching of English as a second language, we are hoping to expand some of our classroom space and facilities, and we know that the private sector has already done a lot of work in getting apartments and residences ready for what we hope to be a fairly strong influx of our Spanish brothers and sisters who want to come and learn English,” Gonsalves said.
“And the opportunity to reciprocate is also there. We hope to be able to send Vincentians to those countries to learn Spanish.
“This is a venture that is going to generate revenue. These students are paying tuition to the Community College. It is not an act of grant assistance between our countries. They will be paying for their education, they will be paying for their room and board. Of course, they will be buying food from supermarkets and all the rest of it,” he said.
“And when people talk about stay over tourism, that it is better for your tourists to come and spend a night or two than to come on a cruise ship and leave — a stay over tourist is more valuable, well even more valuable than that is a stay over student,” he said.
Each batch of students studying under the “Go Teacher” programme will remain in SVG for seven months, Gonsalves said.
He also told the media that as part of “Cooperation for the learning and perfection of the English language for diplomats”, Quito will send some of their foreign service officers to be stationed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in SVG where they will learn English from their Vincentian counterparts.
The first three will arrive in July and will stay for three months, Gonsalves said.