St. Kitts & Nevis introduces Spanish from pre-school and Skills training from primary school


The school curriculum in St. Kitts and Nevis will undergo several changes in September 2023 as the government continues to expand learning opportunities to meet the demands of a modern twin-island state and innovative global industries.

The Honourable Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister responsible for Education, Youth Empowerment and Gender Affairs et al outlined some of the expected changes to the curriculum on Thursday (June 29, 2023) during the inaugural Boys of Excellence Awards Ceremony that recognized the accomplishments of 17 young men, one from each public primary school on St. Kitts.

The first new initiative is the introduction of Spanish as a subject at the preschool level. Currently, the language is introduced in the second year in public high schools according to an official at the Curriculum Development Unit.

Another change will see the introduction of skills training at the primary school level – a move designed to produce well-rounded graduates and meet the growing demand for skilled workers, some of whom may become self-employed.

The expansion of social clubs in schools is also planned to complement The Explorer’s Group, Boys’ Brigade and others.

“I am a Boy Scout,” said Dr. Hanley, adding that he still is actively involved and will host a camp in mid-July. “These groups are important for shaping and moulding the lives of our young people. … In these clubs, that is where you establish discipline. Here is where you get to find out your true self, and with the training, they position you [for success].”

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, the Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, also attended the awards ceremony and noted that opportunities for young men to join the St. Kitts and Nevis Cadet Corps will be readily available.

“If a boy thinks that he wants to go up into the mountains and do all of these types of things that the Cadets do, we are offering the Cadets to our young boys as well. We are going to expand it and make it much larger,” the prime minister stated.

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  1. A very bold move I must say. And we can only know if it paid off after let’s say 20 years. That is when those children will be adults

    • I think we shall see results before that. There are such concepts as “disciplined boys and girls”; “responsible adolescents”, etc…not so? Do not discount the changes that will be evident on the young people’s paths to becoming adults.

  2. It is called investing in your youths the country’s future.The leaders seems to have a vision for the future of their Nation.

    • Yes, it is investing in the future, which is why I said we won’t see now until after about 15 to 20 years what the result of this is.
      By the way, bringing a university here is also investing in our children’s future. It now means that many more of our children have access to tertiary education. The thing is we do not have to wait that long to see the result of this. We already have many graduates coming from the University of Five Islands. And remarkably one that graduated Cum Laude was a lady that worked as a security guard while attending the university. Something that was unthinkable not too long ago.
      But I guess as the saying goes, a King has no honor in his own country.
      At the Sir Novel Richard School children are exposed to learning Mandrin. We still will have to see how that will improve their life in the future. And a new ABICE is being built to equipe our young student with the skills they need.

  3. From the sideline look at it this way:

    In Europe students are introduced to other languages from am early age. The result? Multi lingual citizens.
    .In the Caribbean, we introduce languages o Form 1, the result: a population that barely speaks outside of its 2 languages: English and Dialect.

    I will say that it has been proven time and again that the best time to invest in a child is in the early years. It goes for sports, education, and any other aspect of their development.

    • Cecilia, I do agree with you that people that speak more than one language are somehow better off in life when they have to use their language to communicate. But I would certainly not mention Europe as an example.
      “Europe is home to 24 official languages, while as many as 200 languages are spoken across the continent. That might not seem like many, compared to some continents. Africa, for example, is home to 1,500 to 2,000 languages. However, Europe’s 200 or so languages still encompass a huge amount of variety.”
      Given the history if the British, The Sun never sets in the British Empire, they have taken English to the whole world. And then came the Americans with their world influence of music and movies. That forced the world to be speaking English. Therefore, speaking English takes you easily around the world. I have travelled around Europe and lived in Germany, and I must tell you, unless really necessary the Germans will not speak another language. The French, the Spanish, The Italians and the Portuguese are all the same. A language is something people are very proud of. I speak five languages myself. But the funny thing is, when you do not use it, you almost lose it. And once again I agree that children learn languages much faster than adults. My concern is the choice of language we decide to teach our children as a second or third language. At Sir Novel Richard Academy we are teaching children Mandrin. Many of our young students are taking up Sholarship in China. China is becoming a world economic power to recon with. Spanish on the other hand is spoken in the whole of South and Latin American except Brazil. And Spain of course. Therefore, what should be the country’s focus? Spanish or Mandrin. The future will tell us.

  4. That is progressive thinking by St Kitts. We should do it too.

    But we have to get teachers who can really speak the language and not just teach the kids to write it. My teenager got a 2 in the subject and cannot say a decent sentence.

    My 7 year old told me very pleased with herself that she is learning Spanish, so I asked her to say what she was learning. She was saying the words like she was reading English.

    Don’t just choose someone because they come from a Spanish speaking country. We have to get teachers who also can teach English. That is important to learn the Spanish.

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