Officials gather to announce the signing of the ‘Go Teacher!’ agreement in Ecuador.
OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi has signed on as the lead institution in a three-year, multi-university effort to help improve English language education in the South American nation of Ecuador.
The agreement with the Secretaría Nacional de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología é Inovación, or SENESCYT, the Ecuadorian national Secretary for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, calls for the training of 3,000 students as future public school teachers. Four other universities have joined UM as training sites for the program’s first year, which begins in May. “Go Teacher!” is a comprehensive 14-week, noncredit certificate program that combines 135 hours of language study, plus 135 hours of instruction in Teaching English as a Second Language. Upon completion, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education will award the students a two-year contract to work in the Ecuadorian public school system.
“We are honored and excited to serve as the lead university for ‘Go Teacher!’ and look forward to continued collaboration with SENESCYT, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education and our U.S. university partners,” said Timothy R. Angle, UM assistant provost for summer school and outreach.
The agreement was signed in March in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Ole Miss offers an advanced curriculum that will prepare students to interact in the English-speaking academic, social and professional world, Angle said.
“Go Teacher!” will be coordinated by three offices at UM: International Outreach, Intensive English Program, and the Department of Modern Languages. As the lead institution, Ole Miss will manage the project, placing the Ecuadorian students on the Oxford campus and at partner universities.
This summer, 500 Ecuadorians will be placed at five participating U.S universities, 100 at each location. The universities for the first phase of the program are UM, California State University at Long Beach, Kansas State University, San Diego State University and the University of Kentucky.
Phase 2 will involve 1,000 students, and Phase 3 includes the remaining 1,500 students.
As the participant level increases, additional universities will be invited to participate in the program, said Mona Menking, coordinator of international relations at the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education at UM.
“This is an amazing opportunity for the University of Mississippi to help make a difference in Ecuador,” said Menking, who spearheaded the ‘Go Teacher!’ proposal with Angle. “Having grown up in Ecuador, it is a great honor to be part of this collaborative project that can have such a long-lasting impact in such a wonderful country.”
Jean-Michel Mosquera, manager of the English program at the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education who proposed the partnership with Ole Miss, agreed.
“The Ministry of Education, concerned with improving English education in Ecuadorian public schools, is excited to have found a solution and a partner with the University of Mississippi, which will not only aid in preparing better teachers but also in instilling and promoting a stronger sense of higher education in our country,” Mosquera said.
As part of the partnership with SENESCYT, Ole Miss will also provide ongoing follow-up and evaluation to assess students’ progress and gather data. In addition, UM will provide training for all designated Ministry of Education staff charged with administering the evaluations to the partner universities. Faculty from the five universities will evaluate the data and use their findings to guide this and future programs.
Ecuadorian students have until April 15 to apply for the program’s inaugural year, and students are expected to arrive on campus by mid-May.
For more information on the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education at UM, visit, http://www.outreach.olemiss.edu/