Peru’s government is to enact legislation in the coming months that will require public schools to increase the teaching of English, a high-level government official said.
Education Minister Jaime Saavedra said that the number of hours for English courses will increase from the current two hours per week to five hours per week, state news agency Andina reported.
He said that students will learn English with a combination of in-person classes and online courses.
The policy of increasing English in schools was announced by President Ollanta Humala during his state of the union address on July 28, Peru’s national holiday.
Humala said that by 2021, when Peru will be celebrating its 200th anniversary of indepedence, school students are expected to graduate with a strong command of English, which will make them more competitive in the global labor market.
Humala’s government is taking steps to revamp the country’s education system, which ranks poorly in a number of subjects.
A recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranked Peru last of some 60 countries in terms of reading comprehension, mathematics and science.
In his speech to Congress, President Humala announced that the 2015 budget includes an increase for education, an additional 0.5% of GDP to a historical high of $4 billion. The increase will cover infrastructure, but also increased teacher salaries, teacher training, scholarship programs and incentives to schools with higher performance results.