There is need for a paradigm shift around language learning in Guyana, Education Minister Nicolette Henry declared as she addressed the University of Guyana’s ‘Consultation on Enhancing Language Programmes’ on Monday.Participants of the consultation exercise pose for a photo opportunity with the Minister of Education, Hon. Nicolette Henry (seated eighth from right) and Vice-Chancellor of UG, Professor Ivelaw Griffith (seated fifth from left)Delivering the opening remarks in the Education Lecture Theatre on the Turkeyen Campus, the Minister said the University is well positioned to begin taking steps for that shift to take place, and this is a significant opportunity for Guyana to excel on the global stage.She said: “I believe that enhancing and developing the language programme at the University of Guyana with the introduction of four new languages is a commendable initiative and one that can add value to doing business on the global scale, as the ability to communicate in more than one language is often considered a competitive advantage when hiring new employees.”Minister Henry shared the view that enhancing and developing the Language Programme at the University would assist in supporting teachers pursuing foreign languages. She added that the Government of Guyana is fully committed to restoring languages to their rightful place in the school curriculum, to ensure that more children are able to access a high quality of learning.“I trust that when this programme is launched, teachers will be a main target group, because we want our children to become familiar with bilingualism from an early age,” Minister Henry said.The Department of Public Information (DPI) reported that, to create among children the interest to pursue foreign languages, Minister Henry has said that, at the level of the Ministry of Education, parents have to be engaged to act as advocates, so that they can motivate their children to learn foreign languages.Minister Henry told the gathering of stakeholders that she is encouraged to see the University of Guyana taking the initiative with the consultation to revitalise foreign language programmes in Guyana. She added that education is central to the ambitions of a nation, as it supports the development of a strong, growing economy while promoting a multicultural and inclusive society.The Education Minister also said language studies form a unique addition to a student’s university education, with the variety of teaching and learning techniques adding variety, balance or counter-balance to the education process.She said the education system must support learners of all ages to gain the skills and confidence to become global citizens, to understand other cultures and societies, as well as to develop the skills to function and thrive in the modern global economy.Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guyana, Professor Ivelaw Griffith, said that if persons are to limit themselves linguistically, they would be limiting their world and the extent of their engagements and networking. He said, “We limit ourselves if we limit ourselves to English.”According to Vice-Chancellor Griffith, the consultation is a journey that is part of a broader project called the “UG Renaissance,” which is seeking to transform the University and bring it into the 21st Century.Dean of the Faculty of Education and Humanities, Claudette Austin, said the purposes and objectives of the consultation are: to address the framework for support of language development from primary through tertiary levels of education; design and develop the curricula for a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dutch and Mandarin; design and develop a curriculum for English as a second language; and review and update the curricula for French, Spanish and Portuguese programmes. The consultation is also concerned with preparation of programme and requisite course outlines.