English school plans big expansion in Mexico
A successful system for teaching English as a second language is planning a significant expansion in Mexico over the next 10 years.
Kids & Us, which starts teaching English to children as young as just one year, began operating in Spain in 2003 and has since grown to 322 schools in nine countries, teaching 90,000 students.
The school began operating in Mexico in 2014 and currently has six learning centers in Mexico City. But it has its sights set on reaching 250, which will operate as franchises.
Founder Natalia Perarnau was an English teacher who was disappointed at the poor level of English being achieved by students despite years of study. So she created her own methodology, one that attempts to duplicate as much as possible the process of learning one’s mother tongue, and her own materials for her English school in Cataluña, Spain.
The concept is based on the premise that if learning one’s first language begins the moment a child first hears it, why wait before exposing them to a second or third language.
Meanwhile, a goal of federal education authorities in Mexico has been to improve English-language instruction in public schools.
A new education model currently under discussion calls for teaching English at the pre-school level with the goal of graduating high school students who are fluent.
The goal will be challenging. A report by the news website Animal Político says there are only 50,000 English teachers in the entire country, or one for every five schools. Not only will it be necessary to train a lot of new teachers, but existing teachers will need more training as well.
Many are said to be poorly qualified to teach English.
The education advocacy group Mexicanos Primero says the government’s goal will require training new teachers and spending more money on educational materials.
Yet education — along with health — was the hardest hit by federal spending cuts in June, losing 6.5 billion pesos, or US $360 million. That reduction followed a 3.66-billion-peso cut in January.
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