Georgia high school students will be trained in foreign languages and global culture in a new after school program. It’s the result of companies demanding students who can work right out of high school.
Businesses complain that foreign language training is uneven at high schools across Georgia. Dr. Greg Barfield with the state Department of Education admits that’s true.
He says “In some districts or some schools they’re only able to offer first and second year, perhaps just in one language. That all depends on, school to school, what the demand for the programs are. And then being able to meet the staffing needs.”
The Georgia After school Statewide Network and the Georgia Foundation for Public Education Partners got a private grant to set up a pilot program for after school global education.
Barfield says foreign language training would vary by local school districts, but could include German, French, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese. “When you look with the different industries that are in Georgia, those tend to be the predominant ones where those languages are used.” he says.
Denis Brosnan with the Georgia Foundation for Public Education Partners explains why Portuguese was added to the list. “There are a lot of exchanges that are going on right now between Georgia and Brazil because of the upcoming sporting events down in Brazil. I believe they have the World Cup and also the Olympics that are coming.”
Brosnan says they will offer training in entrepreneurial skills such as money management. They will also offer training in various cultures around the world. “The after school piece may include language, it may include other life skills, things like that that would be helpful for the students as they begin seeking their career.” he says.
The pilot program will help students at South Forsyth High School. Brosnan hopes to expand the program statewide a year from now.