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About UWI Olympiad

The performance of candidates in the Caribbean Secondary Certificate Examination in English (CSEC English A) has sustained debates about language pedagogy, student ability and teacher quality in teaching and learning English. Creole linguists propose that competence in English can only be achieved through a bilingual education programme where all subjects are learnt in Jamaican Creole (JC) and Standard Jamaican English. English Language educators while respecting and acknowledging the role the Mother Tongue plays in language learning, advocate for pedagogies and language learning experiences that build and sustain Critical Language Awareness (CLA) which allow language learners to select the language appropriate for use in various real-life situations and contexts. Three factors that continue to militate against or undermine this bilingual ability and linguistic and communicative competence in the target language ( SJE) in particular are (1) Jamaican Creole is an English-based Creole so many speakers believe that they are speaking in English when in fact they are using Creole grammar and structures ; (2) students are not motivated to learn English because the Creole already satisfies their communicative needs and; (3) most classrooms and the wider society do not foster or nurture sustainable practices in learning and using English. While pedagogies built on contrast and correction are the predominant approaches to the teaching and learning of English in Jamaica, immersion and authentic practice and use, the most successful language acquisition methods remain the least tried.

The UWI English Olympiad on News Talk 93 FM is twined with School based interventions through teacher pedagogical development and competition. Radio provides the real-life aThe UWI English Olympiad on News Talk 93 FM is aimed at achieving the following goals:

  1. raising and sustaining The UWI’s goal to promote sustained use of English in institutions of learning;
  2. engaging national interest in promoting Standard Jamaican English as the language of choice for The UWI Olympiad national competition;
  3. supporting Departments of English in their efforts to implement school-based
  4. immersion in English programmes throughout the Olympiad five -year intervention4. providing a forum or platform for sustaining immersion in English through summits, conferences and other events for school, parish ,county and national involvement
  5. facilitating the pedagogical development of teachers through radio-based Workshop on English in Use sustainable methods
  6. showcasing models of immersion best practices on News Talk FM for sustainability


  1. The UWI English Olympiad Summer Workshops for Teachers (July-August)
  2. Creating English –in-use-environments in School Community Settings
  3. School Radio Documentaries
  4. School Magazine Programmes
  5. School Departments of English Research
  6. An Occasion for Speaking : Nurturing Children as Orators (February- Black History Month )
  7. The UWI English Olympiad Child Month ( May) Summits

This live programme is heard every Sunday on News Talk on the 93FM frequency at 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. It engages the nation in discussion and reflection s on matters ranging from language and identity, language teaching and learning approaches and methods, conversations about, writing pedagogy , oral competence in English and other personal , social and apolitical matters impacting Caribbean nations and the diaspora. The programmed can be accessed via Live Stream at

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