PM Andrew Holness says Spanish is Jamaica’s Second Language as UWI makes it compulsory

“Jamaica will have to take the bold step to make Spanish our second language and making it compulsory in schools”

Prime Minister Andrew Holness during his speech in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Future UWI and High School students, looks like you’ll have to learn Spanish as a Second Language.

So says Prime Minister Andrew Holness during his speech (The Jamaica Observer, 2016, June 7) in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 7th, 2016. He had just wrapped up a visit to Cuba to the 7th Summit of the Association of Caribbean States where he met with Cuban President Raul Castro.

Here’s the video in case you’re having doubts about this being real!

According to Andrew Holness, there are opportunities for Jamaica to exploit in the Cuban Economy (The Jamaica Gleaner, 2016, June 7) as well as in Latin America that are not open to Jamaican because of not speaking Spanish. Additionally, with an increasing number of American tourists speaking Spanish, many may option go to Latin America or Cuba which is now opening up (Poyser, 2016, June 13), taking away much needed tourism dollars.

MICO Wars - PM Andrew Holness says Spanish is Jamaica's Second Language as Mandarin, Entrepreneurship needed - 01-07-2016 LHDEER

By declaring Spanish as Jamaica’s Second Language and having a population where the younger generation speaks Spanish, we stand a better chance of securing tourist dollars that may end up going to Cuba.

Check out this Gleaner Opinion Poll and see where you stand on the issue of Spanish as a Second Language.

Being the second most widely spoken language in the world also helps as these stats demonstrate:

  • 14.1% or 955 million people speak Mandarin
  • 5.85% or 405 million people worldwide speak Spanish
  • 5.52% or 365 million people speak English

So learning another language is important, as Minister of Higher Education in Cuba, Rodolfo Alarcón Ortiz, has plans to make it mandatory for Cuban University graduates to learn English in order to graduate with a Degree. Already, Vice Chancellor of the UWI (University of the West Indies) Sir Hilary Beckles, has made it known that Spanish will also be compulsory (The Jamaica Observer, 2016 June 30) for UWI student to gain a degree come September 2016.

Hopefully he means taught as a Foundation course for ALL three (3) or four (4) years, with a degree being granted on the basis of mastery in both oral and written forms of the language, as is the case with English.

And while he’s at it, course in Mandarin and Entrepreneurial studies should also be made compulsory for UWI students, as being able to start you own business (The Jamaica Observer, 2016, June 30) should also be a skill needed to survive after graduation.

References:

  1. The Jamaica Observer. (2016, June 7). PM wants Spanish to be Jamaica’s second language. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/PM-wants-Spanish-to-be-Jamaica-s-second-language
  2. The Jamaica Gleaner. (2016, June 7). PM Says It’s Time To Make Spanish Jamaica’s Official Second Language. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20160607/pm-says-its-time-make-spanish-jamaicas-official-second-language
  3. Poyser, A. (2016, June 13). Cuban Tourism Product Could Overtake JA – Kosvogiannis. Retrieved from http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20160613/cuban-tourism-product-could-overtake-ja-kosvogiannis
  4. The Jamaica Observer. (2016, June 30). Spanish to be made compulsory at UWI. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Spanish-to-be-made-compulsory-at-UWI
  5. The Jamaica Observer. (2016, June 30). Spanish to be made compulsory at UWI. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Spanish-to-be-made-compulsory-at-UWI
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