ALTHOUGH she believes there’s still a “long way to go” Minister in the Education Ministry Lisa Morris-Julian says the ministry has not given up on its goal of TT becoming a “bilingual nation.”
On Friday, Morris-Julian received several copies of Spanish books written by Chilean author Gabriela Mistral. Mistral is also a Nobel Prize winner in literature and a poet-diplomat.
The presentation of the books was made by the Chilean Ambassador Juan Aníbal Barría at the Embassy of Chile.
She also received another donation of books on behalf of the ministry from Colombian Ambassador Martha Cecilia Pinilla Perdomo.
In a release, the ministry said, “At the separate meetings, future collaborations among the Ministry of Education and the Governments of Chile and Colombia to continue to work closely to strengthen the education system in the promotion of the Spanish language and other spheres of cultural cooperation were also discussed.”
Speaking with Newsday on Saturday morning, Morris-Julian said the government is continuing the efforts which “began under former education minister Hazel Manning.
“When Patrick Manning was prime minister, it was always the aim. Spanish was chosen because of our proximity to South America and it was seen as a necessary step.
“Towns like Arima and cities like Port of Spain have given Spanish names to different streets and areas. We’re not quite where we want to be, but also with our relationships with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and all these entities – being bilingual is strongly encouraged.”
She said when she had visited Germany, most people under 21 she interacted with spoke fluent English. She experienced similar in Brazil and found this to be impressive.
“Worldwide, people are making the effort to communicate better and I really think it is a step in the right direction. We spoke to both Chile and Colombia about using our current virtual situation to do some cultural exchanges with teachers. It’s still in the talking stages but that’s a positive that came out of covid19. Our world is expanding even as we speak.”