English Opens Doors Program

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Promotional image of the English Opens Doors program

English Opens Doors (Spanish language: Inglés Abre Puertas Spanish pronunciation: [iŋˈɡles ˈaβɾe ˈpwertas]) is an initiative of the Chilean Ministry of Education (MINEDUC) to apply technical expertise and improve English as a foreign language (EFL) teaching, making it more accessible to Chilean people.[1] The English Opens Doors program was launched in 2003 and was supported by former President Michelle Bachelet and Minister of Education Mónica Jiménez.[2]


National Volunteer Center[edit]

Sponsored by the United Nations Development Program and the English Opens Doors Program (EODP) of the Ministry of Education, the National Volunteer Center seeks highly motivated native and near-native English speakers to work as English teaching assistants in public and semi-private schools throughout Chile. The National Volunteer Center runs a fee-free volunteer program:

Volunteer Program

Volunteers devote 25 hours each week to in-classroom teaching and an additional 10 to lesson planning and designing or supporting extracurricular activities. Volunteers also receive accommodations and basic meals provided through a host family, a volunteer bonus to offset teaching related costs, in-country health insurance, a TEFL and Chilean culture orientation (with accommodations and meals provided), an E-learning Spanish course, in-country transportation to placement sites from Santiago, and in-country support. Volunteers participate in many English Opens Doors Program initiatives, such as English summer and winter camps, debates, public speaking, and spelling bees. Volunteers are placed throughout Chile and pay no fee to participate in the program.

  • 2004: The full-time program began with a pilot project consisting of 14 volunteers placed in the Antofagasta Region. The project was evaluated by the Adolfo Ibáñez University Business School.
  • 2005: 15 volunteers were placed in Antofagasta
  • 2006: 61 volunteers were placed in the principal regions of Chile.
  • 2007: 187 volunteers were placed in all 15 regions of Chile.
  • 2008: 242 volunteers were placed throughout 14 regions of Chile.
  • 2009: 327 Volunteers were placed in all 15 regions of Chile.
  • 2010: 285 volunteers were placed throughout the country, excluding the regions most damaged by the earthquake of February 27, 2010.
  • 2011: 191 Volunteers were placed in all 15 regions of Chile.
  • 2012: 313 volunteers were placed in all 15 regions of Chile.
  • 2013: 183 volunteers were placed in all 15 regions of Chile

Since 2004, 1,822 English-speaking volunteers have been assigned to schools in every region of Chile, including the islands of Rapa Nui, Chiloe, and more. 650 municipal and subsidized establishments have benefited from the program.

The National Volunteer Center has announced program dates for the 2014 school year:

2013 volunteer service Application deadline non-US citizens Application deadline US citizens Start date End date
1 November 25, 2013 October 14, 2013 March 3, 2014 July 27, 2014
2 December 9, 2013 October 21, 2013 March 17, 2014 July 27, 2014
3 April 14, 2014 February 24, 2014 July 21, 2014 November 30, 2014

English summer and winter camps[edit]

Total immersion English camps take place during students' summer and winter vacations. Camps are designed to give talented Chilean public high school students the chance to practice English in a more hands on way through interactive activities including role-playing exercises, field trips, group projects, and competitive games.

Debate, public speaking and spelling bee competitions[edit]

Each year, the English Opens Doors Program sponsors debate competitions for high school students, public speaking competitions for 7th and 8th grade students, and spelling bee competitions for 5th and 6th grade students. [3] Students are expected to prepare and present material entirely in English and to compete at local and regional events in order to advance to the national finals, held in Santiago. Fernanda Gallardo from Colegio Ramón Barros Luco brought home first prize in Public Speaking.[when?][4]


In 2006, President Bachelet officially announced a government-funded scholarship for undergraduates pursuing an EFL teaching degree at private and public accredited Chilean universities. This scholarship has now been incorporated into Sistema Bicentenario BECAS Chile.[5] The main objective is the creation of a long-term, comprehensive policy for professional and academic development abroad. The scholarship enables Chilean undergraduates in their penultimate year of university to improve their English-language skills and become familiar with a foreign culture.[6] It is the only scholarship the Chilean government grants to undergraduate students and is designed to provide Chilean schools with high-quality professionals, thereby improving English-language education.

The destination country must be one in which English is either an official language or is used widely enough that the Chilean student will be experiencing total immersion.[7] All scholarship applicants undergo a rigorous selection process that includes taking an English-language proficiency test such as the TOEFL or IELTS.

Professional development for EFL teachers[edit]

In order to improve the level of English-language learning among elementary and high school students, the English Opens Doors Program has developed several strategies to provide EFL teachers in public schools with more professional development opportunities, helping them to improve their English-language fluency and teaching practices:

  • English language and methodology courses.[8]
  • Local teachers´ networks where peers form communities of collaboration.[9]
  • Face-to-face and online English courses for teachers in isolated, rural areas as well as for teachers in vocational training centers and professional schools.
  • District-level workshops to develop specific projects.
  • Mentor training in which master teachers coach novice teachers.
  • A "teaching excellence" bonus awarded to outstanding EFL teachers who voluntarily undergo a rigorous evaluation process.
  • Special training seminars in Europe for EFL teachers and municipal authorities.
  • Scholarships for study abroad.
  • English Summer Town and English Winter Retreat. These are annual total immersion seminars where foreign professionals share their expertise with EFL teachers.[10]

Mandarin Chinese teaching program[edit]

In 2005, just prior to the China-Chile free trade agreement the Ministry of Education developed a program that allows educators to incorporate Mandarin Chinese into the curriculum,[11] which is also formally managed by the English Opens Doors Program.[citation needed] Native Chinese speaking trained teachers spend up to two years at a public or semi-private Chilean school teaching Chinese as a foreign language and developing initiatives such as dialogues and immersion camps.[12]


  1. ^ Rohter, Larry (2004-12-29). "Learn English, Says Chile, Thinking Upwardly Global". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  2. ^ "Educarchile.cl". Educarchile.cl. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  3. ^ "El Diario de Atacama". Diarioatacama.cl. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  4. ^ www.dominio360.cl. ":: Programa Inglés Abre Puertas ::". Ingles.mineduc.cl. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  5. ^ "Becas Chile". Becaschile.cl. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ www.dominio360.cl. ":: Programa Inglés Abre Puertas ::". Ingles.mineduc.cl. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  8. ^ www.dominio360.cl. ":: Programa Inglés Abre Puertas ::". Ingles.mineduc.cl. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  9. ^ www.dominio360.cl. ":: Programa Inglés Abre Puertas ::". Ingles.mineduc.cl. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  10. ^ "Newsletter". Fulbrightchile.cl. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  11. ^ "index". Lasegunda.com. 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 
  12. ^ "index". Lasegunda.com. 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2010-01-17. 

External links[edit]