Educational systems are organized to provide for the students' development of coznitive, social and technical skills through the teaching- learning process. The socio-economic conditions prevailing at any point in time in the history of society determine the nature of those skills. Only to the extent that educational systems provide for the acquisition of specific knowledge and skills, education can meet the expectations of being pertinent.
Education can only be pertinent, if it provides for the students' integral development in their social, cultural, intellectual, moral and spiritual needs. Student's integral development, is central to the educating process planning. At he turn of twenty first century, Puerto Rico needs to plan and implement initiatives and strategies that facilitate the development of a human being capable of being positive and productive in life. To live a productive life, people must be skillful to face the demands, challenges and constraints of the new millennium. The positive aspect is, related to the values and attitudes that makes a good human being.
Currently, the existing Government Socio-Economic Development Plan places Puerto Rico within the perspective of a global economy. Therefore, "It is imperative, or the Department of Education, to focus its public policies toward the development of the corresponding human-infrastructure: a person capable of exercising harmonious competition within the existing world-wide economy. To achieve this globalistic perspective, it is necessary that the people of the twenty first century exhibit an educational and cultural background that leads towards the recognition of dignity of work. In addition, educational experiences should guide the learner toward the development of basic universal values. Among others, twenty first century, educated people must be positive, respectful of themselves, their family, and culture. By the same token, he or she will not only be respectful but, appreciative of other cultures.
To understand, appreciate, respond, interact and benefit from global experiences and knowledge, graduates need to be effective communicators. Nobody denies that nowadays, the more languages a person can use properly, the better the possibilities of academic and economic success. Although it will be ideal to expose new generations of Puerto Ricans to a multi-language learning experience, the natural choices in Puerto Rico are Spanish and English. Puerto Rican children have the right to an educational experience, that fosters communication skills in English as well as in Spanish.
It is evident that Puerto Ricans interact within a socio-economic and political bilingual setting. The history of the use of English as it has evolved, acknowledges that Puerto Ricans recognize the existing social, intellectual, cultural, and economical reasons which require the use of English. This state of the art is not likely to change in a near future.
As statement of fact, current possibilities of success in the “world of work" is very much conditioned by the ability to exercise bilingual skills. This reality is highly acknowledged by countries like Spain, Canada, Japan, Germany and others. To this effect, Monseñor Lorenzo Manuel Albacete (1997), President of the Cathotic University in Ponce points out that "even if Puerto Rico ends up as a colony of the Vatican, all effort to learn English are necessary. In Spain the youngsters do not exhibit lack of ability to communicate in English, on the contrary they perceive the ability to use English as something practical to be able to do. In Spain people do not express the kind of complexes and problems expressed in Puerto Rico”.
An additional statement of fact is that the world of communications is shaped not only by the globalization movement which creates a dependency between nations and countries, but also by the advances in the world of technology. Distances between nations and countries are shortened daily by the information networks. Therefore, learning English is not only vital for Puerto Ricans but of equal importance for all the citizens around the world. As an international language, English is an important vehicle of communication. Spanish is also an important language to learn. It is also spoken in a great number of countries. Consequently, being able to master those two languages is a commendable enterprise, with non-calculated value, and deep implications for any educational entity looking forward to achieve success. The Educational System of Puerto Rico is geared at responding to the need for the mastery of the two languages. It also accepts the responsibility to “guarantee" continuous opportunities for achievement all the way through the process of becoming a bilingual graduate. A bilingual graduate will be able to understand, speak, read, and write two languages properly: Spanish - English.