Langdons Language Institute (LLI), which has been teaching English for 24 years in Trinidad and Tobago, is launching a new project to train Latino children.
Susan Langdon, director and teacher at LLI, said that since its inception in 1998, the institute has been working in Chaguanas with the main idea of teaching Latinos to learn English in a family environment.
Every year, more than 100 foreign adult students come to TT to learn English at LLI. During the holiday season from July to August, more and more young students and even whole families arrive, mainly from Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina and Panama.
However, Langdon believes it is time for LLI to move forward on a formative level and since 2019 she has initiated the project to extend the teachings to Venezuelan children currently living here.
“The idea of the school for migrant children was born when we saw that the flow of Venezuelans in TT was starting to increase. We want to give these children and adolescents the opportunity to enjoy their stay here so that they can progress in their educational path,” she said.
LLI is headquartered at Mulchan Seuchan Road, Chaguanas.
Langdon explained that the situation of Venezuelan migrant children is different. As refugees, children and adolescents do not receive student visas from the Division of Immigration and this is where the brake stops their education and certification.
Langdon is looking for alternatives to make the project work.
“The school is a project to give Venezuelan refugee children the opportunity for a comprehensive education. We use Cambridge University’s bilingual curriculum from primary to secondary which leads to an International Baccalaureate,” she said.
This title does not depend directly on a government certification, but it receives the approval of the Ministry of Education.
“We are in the process of getting approval to be an official Cambridge institute. In the meantime, students who are in high school are preparing to take their tests at a Cambridge test center here which awards the International High School Diploma to the end,” she explained.
In the case of students in intermediate levels between preschool and high school, whose parents decide to end their stay at TT and go to other countries, they receive the LLI certificate approved by the Ministry of Education and which can be apostilled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Business.
The institute has 83 students between preschool and high school in the hybrid method. Some students attend their classes face-to-face and others virtual.
Classes are held Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The annual study system is the same as that used in the Trinidadian educational program with three terms between September and July.
“We receive children at any time of the year. We take care of them, prepare them until the end of the school year and do an assessment to find out what level they correspond to for the following school year” , she said.
LLI has seven teachers certified by the Ministry of Education and other Venezuelans qualified by the authorities of their country.
Maths, Science, Spanish, English as a Second Language and the special Cambridge subject called Global Perspective are some of the subjects taught at the LLI school.
“We work to help Latino children prepare, educate themselves and have the opportunity to receive an international certification, approved by Trinidadian authorities and which can be used as legal support in other countries,” said Langdon.
LLI is also expanding its courses beyond the regular schedule. Currently, there are classes Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday at different times between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The courses use the European framework with six levels, each with two stages.
“Each level lasts three months and students receive their certification,” she said.
Currently, more than 1,000 Venezuelan refugee children in TT are studying in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Equal Place primary program, while teenagers are seeking their bachelor’s degree in the Dawere and Notemaster programs.
The initial plan for these programs was to prepare Venezuelan children to enter the Catholic education system, but so far, two years after their launch, there has been no approval from local authorities.
Meanwhile, refugee children continue to receive education in various private education programs.
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