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Jamaica, a bilingual nation, uses Standard Jamaican English (SJE) and Jamaican Creole (JC) as media of communication. JC is used primarily in the domain of the home and with friends. SJE is the language of education, religion, business, government and mass media. In Jamaica’s elementary schools many teachers have felt the need to employ code switching between SJE and JC in order to clarify what they are trying to teach. Even though JC is not an officially recognized language of education, this code switching is done with such frequency that young students commonly fail to distinguish between the two languages.
In 2004 the Jamaican Language Unit of the Department of Language, Linguistics and Philosophy of the University of the West Indies, proposed a four-year pilot Bilingual Education Project (BEP) that provides for teaching in both languages.
The following paper is a report of an external, formative evaluation of the BEP conducted in November 2005. In this paper, the authors investigate whether or not the stated goals and objectives of Jamaica’s Bilingual Education Project are being met.