It´s been a long day so I´m going to write this one in English, although I´ve also been thinking that it´s probably not a bad idea to put all my posts in both English and Spanish, anyway we´ll see!
I´m writing to highlight another government program to improve the level of English in Colombia, it´s called ispeak and you can find it here:
I think we have to commend all efforts that are being made to improve the level of English in the country and I think something has really changed in the last year or so. I mean, it was always obvious (wasn´t it?) that if you could speak English you would be able to communicate with the world, get a better job and generally improve your lot. But, and this is the thing, although people talked as if it were obvious, the actions that people were taking didn´t seem to match (in other words there were many students who stated that improving their level of English was really important to them, yet simply didn´t have any time at all to dedicate to studying the language).
But we have seen this changing to a more results-driven approach. In our students I have certainly seen a more dedicate attitude, a determination to actually make significant progress towards their goal of fluency in the English language.
So what does the i speak program consist of? Well, it allows anyone to register on a national database of English speakers by taking an online English test, and offers some additional training to some of the best performers in different categories.
I think any program, such as ispeak, can only help. It raises awareness of the importance of bilingualism, makes clear the relationship between language ability and job prospects, and is very inclusive to different ages (there is a video of schoolchildren showing off their English skills on the site).
So overall, well done to Colombia or, to be more specific, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism. I hope we see more of this type of thing in the future, and more depth in these programs. Until recently it seemed to me that Colombia´s idea of being bilingual was nothing more than a pipedream and, without underestimating the difficulty of the task, there is at least now more reason to be optimistic.
Oh, and if you want to register, you´ve got until September 6th!