San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica English teachers need to brush up, says gov't

Costa Rica plans to polish up its English teachers’ fluency after a lackluster performance by 3,200 teachers on the Test of English for International Communication.


The plan, called “Multilingual Costa Rica,” announced yesterday by the Public Education Ministry (MEP) and the Costa Rican-U.S. Foundation (CRUSA), calls for 140 hours of class time for 1,212 of the test-takers. It aims to increase poor speakers’ level to intermediate and intermediate to fluent.


“We need to train our English teachers to become competent speakers,” said Martha Blanco, executive director of the program. “It is very important in many aspects of our society.”


Of 3,200 teachers examined, who represent about 86 percent of all English teachers, 38 percent received scores of A1 or A2, representing beginner and upper-beginner level language skills.


Of the remaining 62 percent, 48.5 percent placed in B1 and B2, or intermediate ranges, and 13.5 percent placed in the C1, or fluent, category.


The government and co-organizer’s of the scheme hope that the teacher training will be the first step in a sweeping plan to revamp English education and expand the use of the language in the country over the next 10 years.

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