Mexico will use its network of 48 consular offices in the United States to offer courses in English- as-a-Second-Language (ESL), diplomatic officials have announced.
The Mexican Embassy in Washington and the Mexican Foreign Ministry announced Monday (March 10) that it was undertaking the project, being developed in conjunction with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Fundacion Azteca America, a nonprofit organization, and Grupo Salinas, a Mexican conglomerate.
The three organizations previously announced an agreement to present televised ESL courses later this year.
“This initiative is an important tool that will enhance the political, economic and social empowerment of Mexican Americans and also enhance their civic engagement and successful integration into the fabric of the American mainstream,” said Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s Ambassador to the United States.
Fundacion Azteca America President Luis J. Echarte said the program is part of the foundation’s efforts to support Latinos living in the United States. “It’s in everyone’s interest to have a community that is better educated, with access to higher-paying jobs,” he said.
ESL teachers appointed by the university will follow a 60-hour course plan for “Survival English,” beginning March 15 in the Mexican consular offices of Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Santa Ana, officials said. It will later be expanded to existing UNAM / Fundacion Azteca America pilot course sites in Texas at San Antonio and Austin.
The courses emphasize basic language for everyday situations encountered by non-English speakers in the United States, along with socio-cultural insights on living in the country.
Mario Melgar, Director of UNAM-San Antonio, said the courses also “engage students with authentic use of English through hands-on practice with native speakers.”
A second stage of the program will extend the courses to all Mexican Consulates in the United States, which will begin advertising them shortly, officials said.
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