TEFL/TESOL in Bolivia
Bolivia, often referred to as the “Tibet of the Americas”, is a very poor country where education is a luxury for many of the poorer children who earn their living on the streets from a very early age.
The highest concentration of Bolivians is to be found in the administrative capital city La Paz, home to over a million people. La Paz is renowned for its unique markets, traditional culture and very unusual topography. It is in fact built at such a high altitude that the air is so rarefied and low in oxygen that a small flame is found hard to burn!
The level of English in many areas in Bolivia is generally low. Aymara and Quechua are the two main indigenous languages spoken by the Campesinos and Spanish is the preferred second language. However, English is viewed as an increasingly important language to learn, particularly at University, where it is perceived as a gateway to learning and an opportunity for better employment opportunities.
The public educational system offers English only at very low levels, or not at all, yet those who can afford to pay for their textbooks and tuition fees will make the effort to learn it, if only to better themselves or their social status.
Private English schools can be found in La Paz, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba, though limited in numbers. Sucre, the old capital, has even fewer English schools.
Although the initial hiring criteria of many language schools may be fairly demanding in terms of experience and qualifications, due to the shortage of English teachers, employers are often prepared to turn a blind eye to their initial requirements and consider less qualified and experienced applicants, as long as they hold at least TEFL Certification such as the ICAL TEFL Certificate.
For relatively well paid jobs try the Centro Boliviano Americano, there is one in every major city or the Universities, state funded and private.Image © Señor Hans