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April 2017

An ELT opportunity for US deportees?

Mexico US Border Mexico Piece pic credit el toro

Mexicans who have been deported from the US are being given the opportunity to become English language teachers, who are in short supply in the country. Mexico City Citizens’ Council has launched an initiative to help the deportees obtain English language and teaching qualifications.

‘Most of these people are born English speakers, but they don’t have any official documents to prove it but if they do, they can get a better job opportunity or a better salary’, the organisation’s president Luis Wertman told the Gazette.

‘We send one or two generations of people to the US and now we are receiving them back with education, two languages, international experience and a high immigrant work ethic’, Wertman explained. The first step for the US deportees is to take the TOEIC exam and after that, if they want to work as teachers, they then apply to a programme to certify them as English language teachers. The entire programme is free to take part in. ‘We have to make it right this time providing them with the documents, services and options so they won’t need to leave again’, Wertman told the Gazette.

Mexico City Citizens’ Council is running the project with support from the National Immigration Institute and Mexico City’s local government alongside various NGOs. The first programme started at the end of March with a capacity of 100 trainee teachers.

A new English language policy, launched by Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, will introduce English language classes in pre-primary schools. There is a shortfall of English language teachers in Mexico of 80,000 and 1,800 in Mexico City alone, according to the Citizens’ Council. The hope is that the people who apply for the programme will be perfect candidates to fill these vacancies.

Mexico City receives at least three flights of deportees from the US a week, Fox News reported. Following Trump’s immigration policies, Mexico is expecting this number to increase. ‘At the end of the day, the US president is not the problem – at least not the only one or the biggest for Mexico, the real challenge is to create jobs, opportunities and good quality of life, so no one needs to leave’ Wertman added.


Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto is pushing an ambitious plan to have all of the students in the country speak English as well as Spanish within two decades, the Washington Post reported. The education ministry plans to introduce more hours of English instruction and around 1,000 English teachers will be hired for the next academic year. The government expects to see the first results in ten years. Part of the education sector has complained about the new programme because of the shortage of teachers and the lack of teacher training.

Pic courtesy: el-toro

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