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Spanish speaking Puerto Rico plans to become bilingual

Luis Fortuno, the Governor of Puerto Rico has a goal of making Puerto Ricans bilingual by 2022.

He plans to introduce an intensive bilingual curriculum in public schools in order to reach his goal of English and Spanish bilingualism.

Fortuno believes that this will make the Puerto Rican economy more competitive, and as a consequence will encourage growth and globalisation.


Due to the political status of the country, language has always been a controversial issue in Puerto Rico, and now critics are accusing Fortuno of pushing for a US-centric political agenda.

Although Puerto Ricans have US citizenship and are represented in Congress, the majority do not speak a word of English.

In an effort to change this, Fortuno wants school subjects to be taught in both Spanish and English so that future generations are open to more opportunities in the increasingly globalised world.

The new system will launch in 31 public schools, but within ten years they anticipate that all schools on the island will fall under the new system.

The Academic sector and opposition politicians agree with the introduction of English into the school curriculum, but believe that it should be treated as a foreign language. Some believe that English should be optional and that making the curriculum bilingual could affect the native Spanish language.

On the other hand, those in support of the new programme believe that it is important to prepare students for the needs of their country and the world.

The main fear is in Fortuno’s pro-American attitude. In November this year, Puerto Ricans will vote in a referendum to decide whether they are satisfied with their existing relationship with the USA, and choose their preferred status, statehood, independence or commonwealth. It is thought by many that Fortuno is pushing for a union with the USA, and learning English is a big step towards this.

What do you think? Do you agree that the new education system will benefit Puerto Rico?

Read more about English, Spanish, and other languages services here.

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About Sharon Stephens

Sharon Stephens is Operations Director of Lingua Translation. With a First Class Honours Degree in Translation and a University Lecturer in Translation (Masters), she is a self confessed language geek! Bringing the academic principles of translation and business together Sharon offers a quality-driven and needs centric translation and interpreting service - like no other.

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