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‘Too few teachers’ for Portuguese lessons

The Ministry of Education has defended its decision not to teach Portuguese more widely in schools, citing a lack of available teachers.

Last month, The Royal Gazette spoke with Ocean 89.1FM radio host Christine Francisco, who presents the Portuguese music show Radio Lusitano Bermuda.

She claimed that, to help quell the longstanding discrimination against the Island's Portuguese community, the Government should honour its vow to introduce the language in schools.

“They've promised it for the longest time, so it's about time they kept their word,” said Ms Francisco. “The business world has accepted us — Portuguese is now an option on ATM machines — and the younger generation are very accepting, but there is still a hardcore old-school of people who criticise us.

“If the politicians really want us to be accepted, let's get the language in the schools and make it a number one priority.”

A Ministry spokesperson said that, over the past five years, it had achieved success in delivering Portuguese language classes to “several primary school children”.

She pointed to introductory afterschool initiatives at West Pembroke and Purvis Primary.

“The learning was fun and students presented assemblies where they sang and spoke in the target language,” the spokesperson said.

“The programmes were dependent on the availability of persons from the community who could speak and teach the language.”

Furthermore, she stated that between 2013 and 2015, Portuguese was taught at Port Royal Primary and Heron Bay Primary.

“Unfortunately, the teacher was unavailable for the 2015-16 academic year, hence at this point the programme is not running,” the spokesperson added.

“The Ministry is now looking at how to deliver sustained foreign language learning at the primary school level.”

Call for language classes: Christine Francisco says lessons would help to quell discrimination (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published December 10, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated December 10, 2015 at 1:49 am)

‘Too few teachers’ for Portuguese lessons

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