SJF sponsors CSEC oral exams

Saturday, February 14, 2015

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SOME 4,000 students have been assisted with funds to cover the cost of their CSEC Spanish orals this year.


On February 3, Spanish-Jamaican Foundation (SJF) president Ambassador Aníbal Jiménez-Abascal handed over a cheque valued at $941,460 to the Overseas Examination Commission and the Ministry of Education in a ceremony at Mt Alvernia High School.


Beneficiaries are from the ministry's regions 3 and 4 and include students from the parishes of St Mary, St Ann, Trelawny, St James and Hanover.


Noting that these regions cover the areas where the majority of SJF member companies operate, Jiménez-Abascal said this support "shows our commitment to assisting access to the Spanish language, which is fast becoming the language of business in this region".


The SJF, which fosters partnerships between Spain and Jamaica through educational, cultural, environmental and community development initiatives, has prioritised support for the teaching of Spanish as a foreign language.


Between 2012 and 2014, the SJF awarded close to 100 scholarships worth $50,000 each, totalling $4.5 million, to pre-service teachers studying for their diplomas and degrees in the teaching of Spanish. In late 2014 the SJF also partnered with the Digicel Foundation and Sam Sharpe Teachers' College to open its first language lab to further prepare future Spanish teachers.


"We wanted to reach the secondary level, as though most high schools offer Spanish, and also at the early childhood and primary levels, Spanish is still not that widespread," explained SFJ general manager Dr Rebecca Tortello.


"We have a weekly column in the Observer's early childhood-focused Learning Corner in partnership with Fundaciones Ltd. We support the national Spanish festivals and organise an annual bilingual reading activity on Read Across Jamaica Day with colleague Spanish-speaking embassies and our member companies, reaching close to 1000 first and second graders in 24 schools and donating close to $300,000 worth of age-appropriate bilingual reading material annually."


Frank Sondern and Gabriel Quintana Mendive, SJF board members and general managers of Ríu and EuroDivisas/Global Exchange respectively, engaged the students in a question and answer session in Spanish and encouraged them to embrace the learning of Spanish as a foreign language by sharing how learning new languages had helped them in their own careers.


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