Lindenwood University is among a select group of higher education institutions in the United States and United Kingdom to participate in Panamá Bilingüe, a flagship project of recently elected President of the Republic of Panama Juan Carlos Varela and his administration. The legislative initiative will cost nearly $135 million and will send about 500 Panamanian public school teachers to study in the United States over the next five years. The goal of the program is to increase English competency among Panamanian teachers and, therefore, improve English education programs within the county.
“Lindenwood was selected to participate in this presidential initiative over many other institutions because of its strong focus on English acquisition and its commitment to the science of education,” said Margarita Pearce, Lindenwood University alumnus and director of Panamanian Scholarship Programs. “Teachers need to be able to teach their subject matter, but they also need to be experts at the instructional process itself.”
At the beginning of the spring 2015 semester, Lindenwood welcomed its first group of student participants into a specially organized English as a second language course and teacher training program. Over the course of four months, students will polish their English skills, learn teaching methodology, participate in leadership classes, and observe classroom instruction. Cultural integration into the American environment will also be a key component of the program.
“This initiative is another example of Lindenwood’s long-term commitment to developing capacity- building programs to enhance the Republic of Panama’s human capital and physical infrastructure,” said Dr. Ryan Guffey, vice president for student development and global affairs. “While the Panamanian government has set rigorous review processes and outcome assessments in place to monitor participant progress, I am very confident that the School of Education will continue to be a preferred provider of educational services to the citizens of Panama.”
More than 500 students from the Republic of Panama have graduated from Lindenwood since 1995.