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Mexican state declares itself bilingual

February 6, 2009 | 10:06 am

Without fanfare but with great hopes, the border state of Tamaulipas has declared itself the first bilingual state in Mexico, deciding that its 320,000 public school students, from elementary to high school, will learn conversational English, reports McClatchy newspapers.

"Our efforts are aimed at preparing students for a more competitive world filled with technology and English," governor Eugenio Hernandez said at a ceremony formally inaugurating the program. "Let's face it. The world speaks English. And even if you can only speak a little, you can defend yourself and compete."

There are several similar language efforts underway in Mexico, from the capital Distrito Federal to some of the other border states such as Chihuahua and Nuevo Leon, but Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, represents the biggest experiment.

-- Deborah Bonello in Mexico City