Britain: Language classes for non-English speakers lack "fluency"
Harold F. Schiffman
haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Thu May 18 13:43:39 UTC 2006
>>From 2006 www.InTheNews.co.uk
Language classes for non-English speakers lack "fluency"
Thursday, 18 May 2006 00:01
Language classes for non-English speakers lack "fluency". The provision of
English language lessons for speakers of other languages (ESOL) is not
sufficient to meet huge levels of demand from migrant workers, an inquiry
has today claimed. Releasing its interim report, the National Institute of
Adult Continuing Education-led inquiry (NIACE), believes that the
government needs to expand training schemes for ESOL teachers to meet a 65
per cent increase in students since 2004. NIACE points to lengthy waiting
lists across the country, something previously contained within London.
Derek Grover, chair of the inquiry and former director of adult learning
at the Department for Education and Skills, explained that contrary to
popular opinion, less than one tenth of the country's ESOL students are of
migrant workers from recently admitted EU member countries. He also
revealed the importance of providing ESOL lessons for skilled migrants
workers. Mr Grover said the interim report " argues that ESOL is a key
issue for educational, social and economic policy. It identifies the main
issues, which we believe need to be tackled to improve the provision made
for learners and suggests possible ways forward".
But the report did not aim to offer "definitive recommendations", instead
seeking to encourage an open discussion of the issues raised, he added.
Peter Lavender, director of research, development and information at
NIACE, echoed Mr Grover's comments about how ESOL classes can be
"essential" in allowing an individual to contribute to society. "English
language is a recognised route to citizenship. In the workplace ESOL can
make the difference between a confident and skilled workforce and one that
is hesitant or exploited, where individuals are at risk of missing
opportunities," he said. Mr Lavender concluded that an increase in ESOL
teachers could "make a difference to economic development and to the
effectiveness of services and companies".
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