It’s official! Colegio San Viator in Tunja has has been certified by the Secretary of Education in Colombia as a National Bilingual School. It is the first school in the region to teach three languages — Spanish, English and French — and it comes after the school earned its accreditation as part of the International Baccalaureate program.

Fr. Fredy Contreras, CSV

Viatorians took over the school in 2017. Set amid the Eastern range of the Colombian Andes, the colegio features all the qualities of a Viatorian education, namely one that is faith-based, co-educational and pastoral, with professed Viatorians on its faculty and staff. Now, it officially adds another prominent feature as a bilingual school.

The ceremony took place Friday, during which Fr. Fredy Contreras, CSV, President of the school, accepted the certification from a representative from the Education Department in Colombia.

The colegio earned this recognition after a rigorous review process. Education officials studied the curriculum offered by the school for the last five years, as well as the resumes of each teacher involved in the teaching of English.

They sought to determine each teacher’s proficiency in the language, in order to teach interdisciplinary areas such as religion, biology, math, social studies, physical education and humanities, and all based on Content and Language Integrated Learning or CLIL, which reflects the global trend in bilingual education.

Fr. Fredy Contreras accepts the official certification.

School officials stress the importance of a bilingual model as one that strengthens all aspects of the school, as well as the linguistic aspect of the target language (English). In addition, the bilingual model promotes an understanding of the different cultures that surround the school.

“For our Viatorian Community, it is essential to respect different linguistic variations,” school officials say. “It is an inherent part of the very concept of interculturality, when people with different accents, from different parts of the world interact in the English language.”

Fr. Pedro Herrera, CSV, says this newest certification sets the school apart from other private schools in the Boyacá region of central Colombia. Consequently, its graduating students will have diplomas that reflect their education from a school that is bilingual and one that is part of the worldwide IB program.

A large crowd of faculty, staff and dignitaries attended the ceremony,

“These programs,” Fr. Herrera adds, “open up even more possibilities for our students to be accepted in universities with intensive English programs.”

They reinforce the school’s motto: At Saint Viator, we educate our students to be people of purpose.