Costa Rica has kick-started a massive initiative aimed at ensuring that every student in the country learns to write and speak in English proficiently.
Better English skills can open new job opportunities and stimulate the economy as a whole, the government has stated.
As part of the initiative, thousands of teachers across the country will take up English courses, with the government planning to make the language mandatory in pre-school education.
Soon, there will be a system of certifying the English skills of teachers, as well as young people looking for jobs. Central to the program, however, is testing the English language skills of students pursuing post-graduate degrees and graduating from technical colleges.
“The challenge is to forge a true intersectoral alliance to extend the mastery of English and other languages as a state policy,” said President Carlos Alvarado after launching the initiative.
Costa Rica’s ranking on the EF English Proficiency Index has been rising with every passing year. It was ranked 35 on the 2017 Index, having risen three places from the previous ranking. In addition, there are more than 100,000 Americans living in the country.
“Having a proficiency of a second language like English, strengthens Costa Rica’s development and projection in three areas that stimulate the economy: tourism, exports and foreign direct investment,” said Jorge Sequeira, Managing Director at Costa Rica’s investment promotion agency, CINDE.