Pip has worked as a teacher of English in Bijagua since 2008. She has volunteered in three local schools on a regular basis, worked teaching English to small groups of children and adults, developed and delivered holiday programs and worked with volunteers on various projects in the community. She is a passionate educator and believes that education should be a key focus of any development strategy.
Pip has recently been appointed the ‘Academic Coordinator’ of a project in Bijagua and San José de Upala which is being sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The project involves working with young people from vulnerable backgrounds to teach them conversational English.
This incredible opportunity allows Pip to harness her passion for teaching and learning in order to design the pedagogy and methodology for an exciting and dynamic conversational English course. Hopefully the course will have lasting impacts on the social and economic development of our community.
Background information about the project
The project has a duration of seven months, which includes eight hours of English classes per week and a two hour ‘homework help’ session with a volunteer from the US Peace Corps. The emphasis is on conversational English and to provide students with the confidence and skills necessary to establish and participate in conversations in English. The objective of the course is that students move from the A1 level of English to the A2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
The program is being delivered by Costa Rica Multilingüe- a foundation established by the Oscar Arias administration developed to promote language learning in Costa Rica in order to increase national competitiveness. Costa Rica Multilingüe was invited by UNESCO to develop this project in Bijagua and San José de Upala.
The initiative is led by the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund. The project is being coordinated by the Joint Program ‘One stop Shop for Youth Employment in Desamparados and Upala’. This program seeks to generate real access to opportunities in education, employment and health for young people, women and migrants between the ages of 15-35. This program seeks to address the Millennium Development of halving extreme poverty, achieving universal primary education and promoting gender equality and empower women. Please see here for more information.
The program seeks to offer assistance to young people in vulnerable circumstances including immigrant populations, so they have more opportunities to integrate successfully into the job market. The first phase of the project was implemented in Desamparados. The second phase of the project is currently being implemented in Bijagua and San José de Upala located in the northern rural zone of Costa Rica.
Bijagua and San José de Upala were chosen as locations for the project because of various socio-economic factors. These areas have been identified as communities characterized by low levels of education and high levels of unemployment. The knowledge of a second language especially English has been identified as an important asset to have when seeking employment in Costa Rica. When referring to Bijagua and San José de Upala, there are major limitations to learning a second language including access to resources, access to language institutions, the financial resources required and qualified teachers.
Upala became a Canton in the province of Alajuela on March 17, 1970. Upala is the capital of the Canton and its districts are; Upala, Aguas Claras, San Jose, Bijagua, Dos Rios, Delicias and Yolillal. Development in the region has been slow. The region has been identified as one of the poorest in Costa Rica in successive national censuses. Electricity reached the area in 1976 and the area was without a hospital until 1981. According to the 2008 census, the Upala Catnon has a population of around 45,000 people. It borders Nicaragua and as a result there is a significant influx of migrants. Bijagua has a district population of about
Agriculture has been the most prevalent economic activity in the area. In fact, Upala is one of the largest bean producers in the country. Pineapple, palm oil, corn
and citrus crops are also grown in the area. Seventy percent of farmers engage in cattle farming. Recently there has been a downturn in agricultural prices and this has generated negative effects on the local economy, including high levels of unemployment.
In Biagua, tourism has developed rapidly due to its proximity to the Volcano Tenorio National Park and the famous blue Rio Celeste. Now there are many tourist projects in the area including hotels and restaurants which require their employees to be able to speak English. It is anticipated that some of the graduates of the course will hopefully be able to seek employment in our local area.
Background Information about Costa Rica Multilingüe
The strategic tasks of Costa Rica Multilingüe are to act as a catalyst for public policy and national projects, as a lobbying agents and as a project leader to develop and support language learning projects (Costa Rica Multilingüe, 2011). Costa Rica Multilingüe is involved in various projects including developing ‘language corners’ that seek to promote multilingualism through the creation of public spaces with literature in foreign languages and ‘community conversation groups’ whereby English speaking residents of Costa Rica are encouraged to form conversation groups in their local communities. For more information click here.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
The MDGs are eight international development goals that all 193 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. They include eradicating extreme poverty, reducing child mortality rates, fighting disease epidemics such as AIDS, and developing a global partnership for development. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Development_Goals)
The MDGs provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions. The MDGs also provide a framework for the entire international community to work together towards a common end – making sure that human development reaches everyone, everywhere. If these goals are achieved, world poverty will be cut by half, tens of millions of lives will be saved, and billions more people will have the opportunity to benefit from the global economy. The eight MDGs break down into 21 quantifiable targets that are measured by 60 indicators. http://www.undp.org/mdg/basics.shtml
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs):
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
Would you like to meet our class?
Perhaps you might be able to make a donation?
Making a small donation can make a big difference in the life of our English students….
Please contact Pip email@example.com or Alfredo Gonalez at Costa Rica Multilingüe
Thank-you for your support!
We hope to see you soon!
Costa Rica Multilingüe http://www.crmultilingue.org/
Costa Rica Multilingüe, ‘Third Annual report: Costa Rica Multilingüe Foundation, March 2010 to Match 2011, 2011
Programa Conjunto: Juventud, Empleo y Migración
‘Una ventanilla única para el empleo juvenil en Desamparados y Upala’
United Nations Millennium Development Goals: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
Wikipedia, UN Mellennium Development Goals: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Development_Goals