Ricardo Rosselló, Jennifer González Propose Bilingualism as Key to Success
SAN JUAN – Before starting a series of walks in Mayagüez, New Progressive Party gubernatorial candidate Dr. Ricardo Rosselló and candidate for resident commissioner in Washington, D.C., Jenniffer González presented their strategy to enrich the linguistic background of Puerto Ricans, called “Bilingualism: Key to Success.”
Rosselló explained that, “in the map of [Puerto Rico] assets being developed, we have identified a great potential to achieve having a citizenry that is highly trained in linguistic skills to convert Puerto Rico into a natural bridge between the Americas. It is an opportunity we must seize while we can. The academic powerhouse [countries] promote the teaching of more than one language [Japan, Finland, Singapore, Germany, etc.]. Although there are discrepancies in terms of approaches, means, models and teaching strategies, it is essential in modern times to master more than one language.
“Linguistic scholars point out that the English language is used by about 300 million people as their first language and 350 million as a second language. Also, they place English as the second official language in more than 60 countries and numerous international organizations. It is also predominantly used in international issues regarding politics, business, science and other subjects with high social and economic impact.
“In Puerto Rico, along with local government, we have the federal government, which operates using the English language,” explained the pro-statehood candidate.
“A bilingual education, focused on English proficiency, opens the range of opportunities to excel in business, science and other communications sectors with the outside world. Therefore, a bilingual education is not an ideological framework, but a societal ladder that can give those who were not born with financial resources an additional tool for growth and development,” the university professor stated.
As part of their effort, they announced various proposals such as creating a bilingual program to increase the number of bilingual schools in Puerto Rico for the 2017-2018 academic year by 20%; encouraging the professional and linguistic development of government staff as part of their proposal to open the University of Puerto Rico to train public servants; applying technology to expand bilingual education island-wide through Participatory Public-Private Partnerships as a collaborative incentive for entrepreneurs; hiring retired teachers to provide training or tutoring;
developing pre-recorded language courses; holding linguistic and conversational workshops for communities on school grounds after of school hours; and emphasizing language at an early age, “among many others,” they stated.
González added that “as a result of our public schools, I was fortunate to have outstanding teachers in the specialized schools I attended. However, not all students have those opportunities. Instead of allowing the privilege of a fully bilingual education only to those who can pay, our proposal provides direct tools for every student, regardless of the school they go to or the socioeconomic status of their families.
“It is time for all of our children to have access to a bilingual education of excellence provided by the state. This way, we will promote a new generation of Puerto Ricans as the engine of development, fluent in both languages and inserting themselves into the world economy. Our proposal addresses this directly, and as resident commissioner in Washington, I will seek more resources to support this strategy to be implemented by the new administration of Ricardo Rosselló.”