The awards ceremony for the [Towards a Bilingual Bahamas](http://www.bilingualbahamas.com/#tabb) (TABB) pilot programme (2015-2016) was held on Friday September 23rd at the Ministry of Education. The event was attended by over 100 guests and included teachers, students, faculty, ministry officials, and representatives/sponsors from the financial services industry. Participants of TABB from various family islands were represented as well.
Towards a Bilingual Bahamas (TABB) is a pilot programme initiated by the Bahamas Financial Services Board in partnership with Rosetta Stone and co-hosted by The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, and The Ministry of Financial Services. This program is co-sponsored by private sector partners – members of BFSB and The Association of International Banks and trust Companies (AIBT) as well as BFSB Member Professional Industry Association representatives who supported this initiative attended. TABB is committed to providing Bahamian high school students with the opportunity to acquire proficiency in the French or Spanish language. TABB believes that this will make our students more competitive in the international job market. Providing an overview of the programme, Miss McCartney said, *”Studies have found that speaking two or more languages is a great asset to the cognitive process”*. She went on to encourage students to continue to study foreign languages as this will make them more competitive when they enter the workforce.
The objectives of TABB are:
* To provide schools with an effective tool which will support foreign language teachers and students allowing them to increase students’ knowledge, familiarity and fluency in a foreign language.
* To expose students to cultural, business and other customs of native speakers through the Language Learning Cadet Programme offered as a key component of TABB, and the provision of immersions for high performing students.
* To make bilingualism a priority for all language programmes and to encourage an early appreciation of languages among students
Three students received full scholarships for both the Spanish and French immersion programmes. Spanish students spent three weeks in Costa Rica whilst French students spent two weeks in Quebec, Canada. Testimonials were given in Spanish from students who participated in immersion programs in Costa Rica; as well as musical ensembles sung in Spanish by students. The Old Bight High School in Cat Island was the recipient of the top performing high school award. Currently, plans are underway for TABB’s second year.
Corporate and Association financial sponsors included The Winterbotham Trust Company,
Windermere Corporate Management Limited, Association of International Banks & Trusts (AIBT)
Callenders & Co., Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA), CFA Society The Bahamas, Julius Baer Bank & Trust Bahamas, Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers (BACO), and The Insurance Institute of the Bahamas (IIB).