Jose Carillo's Forum


The Forum makes a weekly roundup of interesting news from all over the world about the English language and related subjects. To read the news from a particular country, simply click the indicated country link. To go out of that country’s news section, simply click the country link again and choose another country link.


TESDA to upgrade language skills of workers

MANILA, Philippines, July 22, 2011— The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has earmarked P5 million from its scholarship fund this year for language test review classes of returning Filipino workers displaced by the Saudization program.

In a letter to Labor Secretary and TESDA board chair Rosalinda Baldoz, TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said the review classes will be offered for free to OFWs to open up fresh opportunities for employment in the country or abroad.

The review program is open to OFWs interested in working in Australia and Canada, which Baldoz identified earlier as possible countries that may absorb Filipino workers to be affected by the new Saudization labor policy.

Prompted by the national policy to encourage employment of Saudi nationals and reduce unemployment, the Saudi Arabia government has put in place a new Saudization or "Nitaqat" program.

Prior to issuance of working visas, both countries require proficiency in English as a Second Language (ESL).

An initial 1,000 slots will be allotted for workers who will undertake review classes for International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL).

"We don't want the impact of Saudization blowing up in our faces. Before it is totally felt, we want to have the measures in place to ease its impact on our OFWs and give them hope for new jobs," Villanueva said.

Full story...

Australia to help Philippines educate indigenous and Muslim children

MANILA, July 7, 2011—The Department of Education (DepEd) will get the help of the Australian government in its bid to raise the quality of education provided to indigenous and Muslim school children.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith launched yesterday the Philippines’ Response to Indigenous Peoples and Muslim Education (PRIME) program, which is a DepEd initiative to help address the learning needs of indigenous and Muslim school children.

The Australian government has committed a funding of A$20 million for the implementation of the PRIME program.

“Australia is pleased to be a founding partner of PRIME, providing P880 million (A$20 million) from 2011 to 2014. We applaud the Philippine Government’s efforts to address the particular needs of indigenous and Muslim learners — many of whom are among some of the most disadvantaged of Filipino children in terms of their access to a quality basic education,” Ambassador Smith said.

Luistro said that DepEd has seen the need for the PRIME program to ensure that their effort to raise the quality of education in public schools also covered indigenous and Muslim school children.

Full story...

Filipino visionary from Silicon Valley to be tapped for high-tech education system

MANILA, July 9, 2011 (PNA)—The Department of Education (DepEd) is tapping the services of a well-known Filipino engineer working in high-tech industry in a bid to speed up the government’s human development and poverty reduction goals in the education sector.

“Right now, we plan on bringing the technology in the education sector, use wireless fidelity (wifi) and laptop and tablets that will be developed by a Filipino for the Filipinos," Education Secretary Armin Luistro said during the Presidential Communications Operations Office's forum on Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster held Friday at the National Broadcasting Network (NBN) Channel 4 in Quezon City.

Luistro said the DepEd is working with Diosdado Banatao, the Filipino version of Bill Gates, in developing the technology.

“We will not use high-end or branded computer, laptops or tablets. The technology will come from DepEd and Mr. Banatao," he said in an interview with the Philippines News Agency.

Banatao is regarded as a Silicon Valley visionary who introduced technologies that transformed the computer industry and built large successful companies from the ground up. He pioneered the PC chip set and graphics acceleration architecture that continue to be two of the foundation technologies in every PC today.

Full story...

BPO firm to give English refresher courses to teachers

June 22, 2011—An information technology and business process outsourcing (BPO) company is investing on a project focusing on training school teachers on the English language to help students improve their English proficiency.

Romit Gupta, country general manager of Wipro BPO Philippines Ltd., said the firm had partnered with the Department of Education in Central Visayas to implement the project, which they called the “Communication Excellence for Public Education (CEPE).”

Gupta and DepEd-7 Director Recaredo Borgonia signed the agreement yesterday.

“We believe that with good teachers we can produce good students who will be readily absorbed by the industries that will need them like the BPO industry,” Gupta said.

He said the project would help public school teachers brush up on the English language especially on the critical areas often mistaken by Filipinos, like subject-verb agreements, redundancy and “Filipinoisms” such as the phrase “in fairness.”

“We have already conducted trainings to two batches with a total of 60 students in May and we have seen early improvements, which only show the potential for the project to take on a better shape than what it has now,” Rupta said.

Full story...

Some foreign students decide to make Philippines their home
By Candice Montenegro, GMA News

June 20, 2011—Sara Toh, 25, has not seen her parents in the last two years. Sara has not been home since she left South Korea in 2009 to study in the Philippines.

"I miss them and I want to go home, but I'm actually enjoying my stay here," she said.

She said she went to the Philippines to study English because she wanted to supplement the English course that she already took in South Korea.

"I knew that Filipinos are better English speakers, so I thought it would benefit me to study the language here," she told GMA News Online.

After finishing a year-long course in English proficiency, she decided to stay in Manila and try her luck at finding a job. She is now working as an executive assistant in a multinational business process outsourcing company.

Sara is only one of many South Korean nationals who come to the country to learn English. The South Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade estimates that there were over 115,000 Koreans in the Philippines as of 2009.

Full story...

US envoy cites advantage of English proficiency

DAVAO CITY, June 16, 2011—US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr. said Thursday that the Job Enabling English Proficiency (Jeep) project will raise the quality of seafarers in Mindanao and the Philippines in general.

Thomas, who is in Davao City Thursday for the assessment of US Agency for International Development's (USAid) Jeep project implemented by the Growth for Equity in Mindanao (GEM) Program at the Davao Merchant Marine Academy (DMMA), said that since professionals around the world become more competitive, it is an advantage for Filipino workers, especially seafarers, to be more equipped with the English language.

Thomas said English proficient seafarers have broader chances of getting better employment and advancement in their work.

"We think that it is the key reason for you to get a better work in the future," Harry said, adding that if students are more proficient with the English language, chances are, good works await them.

The ambassador commended institutions all over Mindanao that adopted the Jeep project because this strengthens the job-related English skills of college students before graduation.

Full story...

Report says Philippines needs better teachers, bigger education budget
By Alexander Villafania, Yahoo Philippines  News

QUEZON CITY, June 13, 2011 (—For education in the Philippines to be achieved, the education system must focus on developing the skills of teachers, a report by the Senate Economic Planning Office (SEPO) said.

In addition, the SEPO also recommends that the government should secure resources to ensure implementation of the K+12 program that the Department of Education (DepEd) is implementing.

The SEPO report “K to 12: The Key To Quality Education” was prepared by SEPO Staff Rocky Howard Yap and looks at the viability of extending the country's basic education from 10 years to 12 years (additional two years in high school), as well as adding kindergarten as a requirement prior to entry to Grade 1.

The report recognized that nearly all countries have adopted the 12-year basic education program, except for the Philippines. Only the African countries of Djibouti and Angola have retained their 10 years of basic education.

The premise for adopting to the extended number of years in basic education is due in fact to the need decongest the current curriculum that squeezes education within 10 years whereas other countries have stretched their curriculum with the additional two years.

Likewise, the additional two years should provide better skill sets for elementary and high school students who need to be prepared for their entry to higher education…

Full story...

Philippine schools lack more than 143,000 classrooms this year

MANILA, June 8, 2011—The Philippine public school system lacks 143,281 classrooms this year, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara said yesterday.

Angara, who chairs the House committee on technical and higher education, said the government plans to ease the severe classroom shortage by leasing 16,051 classrooms from private schools through tuition vouchers and by building 14,243 rooms.

However, the money for the construction of new classrooms was affected by the decision of the administration’s economic managers to tighten infrastructure spending in the first four months of the year, he said.

“Government disbursed only P34.8 billion for infrastructure, an amount that is 53 percent – or almost P40 billion – lower than what was spent during the same period last year and an anemic 14 percent of the current full-year program,” he said.

He added that the early passage of the 2011 budget in December 2010 should have given the government a head start in construction, which would have also allowed it to take advantage of the good construction weather in the first half of the year.

Full story...

500 Chinese students to start English classes in Davao school

DAVAO CITY, June 15, 2011 (PNA)—An initial 500 Chinese students are coming to Davao City in August, this year for an English study and tour program here.

I-Study Brainmaster, an institution that caters to foreign students, is partnering with the JIB e-Academy and Solutions based in this city, in providing ESL (English as a Second Language) lessons to beginners and those in advanced levels.

Joji Ilagan-Bian, owner of JIB e-Academy Solutions, noted the increasing number of Chinese adults and students who want to learn the English language.

Bian said in offering the ESL Program, JIB e-Academy and Solutions will expand its services to Chinese students wishing to undertake intensive study of the English language including listening, speaking, reading and writing.

The program will run for 12 months and will also have lessons in personality development, culture, and values formation.

She said the 12-month study program aims to teach students to communicate in a social setting, use English for the students’ academic preparations, use English socially and culturally, and pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam.

Full story...

United Kingdom

Government ends free language classes for immigrants

LONDON, August 1, 2011—Thousands of vulnerable women face being priced out of classes that enable them to learn English, under new rules launched yesterday.

Changes to benefit entitlement mean almost 80,000 people across England could lose the right to free language classes, with women representing more than two-thirds of those affected—58,900 enrolments—according to the government’s own assessment.

The move calls into question the prime minister’s commitment to promoting “integration” among migrant groups, critics claim.

David Cameron insisted immigrants to Britain “must learn English, so that ... they can be more integrated into our country,” in a speech in Parliament earlier this year.

The new changes mean that only people on “active benefits”—jobseeker’s allowance or employment support allowance—would be entitled to full funding for ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) courses.

The changes are intended to focus resources on those seeking employment. Other people on so-called “inactive” benefits, such as income support and housing benefits, or those on low incomes —including asylum-seekers and refugees—will have to pay at least 50% of the cost of their courses.

Full story...

English students should study abroad, says minister
By Katherine Sellgren, BBC News

July 27, 2011—Does it pay to be a student in the US?

More students from England should be able to study abroad, says the Universities Minister David Willetts.

He said it should be easier for English students to gain credits towards their degree while studying overseas.

There should be “greater mutual recognition” of qualifications between countries, he suggested.

With many students in England facing tuition fees of £9,000 a year from 2012, study at foreign universities could become more popular.

Speaking at a Westminster Education Forum event on higher education, Mr. Willetts, minister for universities in England, said: “I would like to see British universities with more of a presence abroad.

“I would like to see them be able to raise enough funds to set up more operations abroad.

“I would like to see greater mutual recognition of qualifications so that a student born in Britain can build up credits for a British degree while studying abroad.

“And that may be a way in which we see rather more British students studying abroad.”

Full story...

Parents should be held to account if they are failing youngsters, says minister

July 21, 2011—It might be necessary for authorities to step in and force parents to teach their children to speak English before they start school, an MP has warned.

Keighley Conservative MP Kris Hopkins said parents have a responsibility and are failing children if they do not have the needed language skills to help them succeed.

“There is an urgent need for parents to take responsibility for ensuring their children achieve their full educational potential, and speaking English is vital in this regard,” he said.

“Some local education authorities have mechanisms in place to encourage parental engagement, but we need to find a way to reach those parents who fail to step up to the mark and this may involve an element of compulsion.”

Figures released by the Depart-ment for Education revealed more than 28,000 children in the district do not speak English as their first language, representing 43.5 per cent of school children and one in three secondary school children.

Mr Hopkins said: “Keighley needs a highly-educated, highly-skilled workforce if we are to attract new jobs and inward investment and be able to tap into niche markets. This will require ambition and aspiration in the local community and, in particular, amongst its younger members. But the inspiration must begin at home, with parents encouraging their children to do their best and, in the Asian community, ensuring they can speak English.”

Full story...

Parents should be held to account if they are failing youngsters, says minister

July 21, 2011—It might be necessary for authorities to step in and force parents to teach their children to speak English before they start school, an MP has warned.

Keighley Conservative MP Kris Hopkins said parents have a responsibility and are failing children if they do not have the needed language skills to help them succeed.

“There is an urgent need for parents to take responsibility for ensuring their children achieve their full educational potential, and speaking English is vital in this regard,” he said.

“Some local education authorities have mechanisms in place to encourage parental engagement, but we need to find a way to reach those parents who fail to step up to the mark and this may involve an element of compulsion.”

Figures released by the Depart-ment for Education revealed more than 28,000 children in the district do not speak English as their first language, representing 43.5 per cent of school children and one in three secondary school children.

Mr Hopkins said: “Keighley needs a highly-educated, highly-skilled workforce if we are to attract new jobs and inward investment and be able to tap into niche markets. This will require ambition and aspiration in the local community and, in particular, amongst its younger members. But the inspiration must begin at home, with parents encouraging their children to do their best and, in the Asian community, ensuring they can speak English.”

Full story...


Judges air concerns about English tests in visa cases

July 13, 2011—The Federal Court has seized on the use of English language tests by immigration authorities as potentially unfair.

In a decision this month involving an Indian-born graduate from the University of New England, Justice Nye Perram said the court had noticed something puzzling in a number of cases.

There was "a disjunct between the apparent ability of [former overseas students] in skilled migration visa appeals to conduct their own cases in fluent English, on the one hand, and the operation of the [International English Language Testing System] test which deemed them not able to speak competent English at all, on the other''.

Justice Perram began his judgment by recalling the 1934 attempt to deport the communist Egon Kisch by setting him a dictation test in Scottish Gaelic, a device used to apply the White Australia Policy.

"Experiences such as these have led to a natural caution in the legal mind about the use of language tests in an immigration setting,'' the judge said.

However, he conceded that today's immigration authorities had a legitimate concern about English proficiency and said IELTS was not "a discreet tool for the implementation of concealed policies. ".

Full story...

Corruption leads to closure of Curtin’s English language test centre

July 8, 2011—Curtin University will close its IELTS English language testing centre following a corruption scandal.

A former staff member, Kok Keith Low, pleaded guilty to bribery offences following an anti-corruption inquiry into a 2009-10 trade in falsified IELTS results from the Curtin centre.

Low is to be sentenced on August 9 and the eight others charged, most of them former international students, also have pleaded guilty to bribery offences.

In many cases, the test results were used by international students to secure permanent residency visas. As would-be skilled migrants, they had to show competent English. The price for fake IELTS results was as high as $11,000.

Today, Curtin's vice-chancellor Jeanette Hacket said the university centre would hold its last IELTS test on August 13.

She said the decision to close followed the WA Corruption and Crime Commission's inquiry and an internal review, "which found the high-stakes testing would always carry associated risks and responsibilities''.

An internal Curtin document says: "With the need identified recently, as a result of the CCC hearing, to reduce testing numbers in order to provide a quality product with all the safeguards for risk in place, the service has become less financially viable''.

Full story...

Australia’s boom runs dry of skills

July 5, 2011—The minerals and energy boom in Australia’s remote northern regions, fuelled by Chinese demand for iron-ore, coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG), is about to put the Australian labor market in a vise.

The government estimates that it will need an additional 70,000 workers over the next five years to service its resources industries and many will be recruited from abroad. But the universities and colleges that equip foreign students with the skills and English language proficiency to enter the job market could struggle to meet this new demand.

Australian higher education’s once booming international student sector has experienced sharp falls in both student numbers and capacity in recent years that now threaten to exacerbate a worsening skills shortage.

To understand the current predicament, it’s necessary to look back to the mid-to-late 2000s when Australia’s education export sector was undergoing rapid expansion.

Universities that were being starved of cash under the Howard conservative government were enrolling increasing numbers of foreign students to cover their funding shortfall. Competition for students pushed down English language entry requirements, with some institutions accepting scores in the Ielts test of English of as low as 5.0.

Full story...

Australia enforces new, tighter immigration rules

MELBOURNE, July 1, 2011—Australia’s new immigration rules that focus on higher qualification and advance English language skills as requirements for those wanting to migrate to this country, came into effect today.

The new rules, according to Australian officials, aim to pick up the “best and the brightest” from the pool of applicants, and have been criticised by Indian groups here.

The Australian government announced changes to its independent skilled migration points test, introducing the new immigration point system to put more emphasis on work experience and high-level educational qualification with higher English language proficiency.

“These changes to the points test are an important next step in the series of reforms to the skilled migration programme announced by the Government in February this year,” Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said.

“The reforms set the foundations for a skilled migration programme that will be responsive to our economic needs and continue to serve Australia's interests in the medium to long term,” he added.

However, the new programme has been criticised by the Federation of Indian Association of Victoria ( FIAV) which said the level of English proficiency is like an “iron curtain” being imposed on migration in this country.

Full story...

High dollar gives language colleges reprieve
By John Ross, The Australian

June 22, 2011—The soaring dollar has handed a partial reprieve to the struggling English language college sector, as working holiday-makers decide potential earnings in Australia outweigh learning costs.

But the trend could spell trouble for higher education and vocational education and training, as some language colleges withdraw from pathway programs in favour of the leisure and general English courses that were their bread and butter a decade ago.

English Australia executive director Sue Blundell told a members' briefing in Sydney yesterday the dollar had stimulated enrolment growth from safe traditional markets in East Asia and Europe.

She said the number of short-term visitors to Australia had grown by about 20,000 between March and November last year, with working holiday-makers lured by the prospect of earning valuable Australian dollars.

This had played out into the ELICOS sector, with the number of students on visitor and working holiday visas growing by about 6000. ELICOS numbers grew by about 2500 from Japan, 1000 from Taiwan, 7000 from France, 400 from Switzerland and 300 each from Hong Kong and Italy. But the growth couldn't staunch the haemorrhage of enrolments from people on student visas.

Full story...


English teachers sent abroad

July 17, 2011—Positive comments about Japan's system of English teaching are rare, but hope is on the horizon. This month, 96 Japanese high school and junior high teachers of English leave for a half-year training program in the United States. They will enroll this fall in courses on English-teaching methods, stay with local families and work as interns at secondary schools in America.

The experience they bring back will be a great step toward genuinely improving Japan's woeful way of teaching English.

The program, sponsored by the government, is an important initiative. The teachers, most in their 20s to 40s, will be able to acquire the kind of experience that will have an enormous impact on their students.

By going abroad, these teachers can learn how to teach communicative English and how to communicate better themselves. That will bring a higher level of English into the classroom as well as a broader outlook on English as a global language. That will also be a start toward changing the current fixation on exam-based English.

After these teachers return, they will also be changing the attitudes of students. At the send-off ceremony, Vice Education Minister Hirofumi Ryu said the teachers would be able to change the "inward-looking" nature of Japanese students and help to nurture students who can be "active globally."

Teachers who have developed a broad-minded, active and open approach themselves will be even better equipped to achieve those aims.

These teachers will also be able to encourage young Japanese to study abroad, or at least study with greater zest. The authority of experience goes a long way, especially with young people.

Full story...

Japanese English teachers leave for U.S. looking to broaden horizons

KYODO, July 8, 2011—A total of 96 Japanese teachers of English who will leave for the United States this month on a half-year training program vowed Thursday to use the experience to enhance global understanding.

The junior high school and high school teachers from across Japan, who are in their 20s to 40s, will be enrolled in courses on English teaching methods at seven U.S. universities, stay with local families and work as interns at American secondary schools on the exchange program through early February. The program is sponsored by the government.

Kaori Taguchi, a 32-year-old teacher at a high school in Miyagi Prefecture, told a send-off ceremony in Tokyo that she felt guilty about leaving at a time when her colleagues remain affected by the March 11 megaquake-tsunami disaster.

“Some schools in coastal areas are used as evacuation shelters and classes cannot be conducted properly there,” Taguchi said, speaking as a representative of the teachers. “I hope I can improve my English teaching skills through the program and return the favor by nurturing students who will open their eyes to the international community."

Full story...

United States

Purdue creates new certification for English Language Learners

August 1, 2011—As Indiana has become the state with the third-highest increase in English language learners, the College of Education is taking steps to prepare its teachers for changing Hoosier school populations.

According to a 2006 report by the National Clearinghouse on English Language Acquisition, from 1994 to 1995 and 2004 to 2005, Indiana saw a 408 percent increase in the number of English language learners – the third-highest in the United States.

An English language learner, commonly referred to as “ELL,” is any student for whom English is a new language. According to James Lehman, a faculty member in the College of Education, most ELL students are of Hispanic origin.

In fact, John Layton, assistant superintendent of the Lafayette School Corporation, reported one in seven students in his schools are considered to be an ELL.

It is left to Hoosier educators to respond and adapt.

This fall, the College of Education will offer a new graduate certificate program focused on identifying ELL needs, developing student language skills and utilizing effective teaching methods unique to the ELL student.

Full story...

In-language Initiative creates glossary of translated industry terms
By Jake Weyer,

SALT LAKE CITY, July 21, 2011—The National Auto Body Council’s (NABC) In-Language Initiative committee on Wednesday announced it has created a glossary of collision industry terms, translating them from Spanish to English.

The In-Language Initiative, which was approved during the NABC board meeting Nov. 2, 2010, is meant to provide non-English speakers equal access to industry training, service and product resources.

The committee will initially focus on the Spanish-speaking community because they represent the largest and fastest growing immigrant community in the United States, said to Karen Fierst, board member and in-language advisor for the NABC. Twenty percent of mechanical and collision repair technicians are of Hispanic decent—many of which are non-English speakers.

There are many issues that need to be addressed to improve industry communication with non-native English speakers, Fierst said. The committee identified that creating a glossary of terms that translate Spanish to English would be the best preliminary first step to address the issue.

The committee created translations for about 4,400 industry terms. The glossary is a combination of the Collision Industry Conference’s (CIC) glossary of terms, which has existed for more than 10 years, with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence’s (ASE) Spanish-English dictionary.

The glossary will be available to the industry for free on the NABC website by mid-August, according to Fierst.

Full story...

Chinese students seeking opportunity in Maine schools
By Nick Sambides Jr., Bangor Daily News

LEE, Maine, July 15, 2011—Imagine sitting in a classroom from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday with as many as 64 other students, stationary except for a 2½-hour lunch break, and having to take classes on Saturdays and Sundays, too.

Imagine lessons heavy with memorization and detail, with little opportunity to question, analyze or even explain what you’re expected to learn, where dead silence is normal, and teachers rule with strict discipline and give you little if any personal attention.

Imagine having every grade intensely scrutinized by parents who view your educational achievement as their ticket to a better life, and a massive annual exam that strictly regulates your chances to get a better education.

If you can envision that, you can begin to see why many Chinese parents prize the opportunity to send their children to American high schools as diverse as John Bapst, Lee Academy and Stearns. Those are among several state high schools that, like others in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Virginia and Washington, will have dozens of Chinese students enrolled in September.

Yet the picture drawn of a typical Chinese classroom — if there ever can be such a thing in a country of more than 1.3 billion people — could be starker still, said Bruce Lindberg, headmaster of Lee Academy, one of the state’s pioneers of large international student programs.

Full story...

Minimum English language standard for teachers set in Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, July 8, 2011—Teachers who are suspected of not speaking English intelligibly will be required to take a language-competency test to determine whether they should be allowed in the classroom, and they must score in the mid-range to keep their job, according to a new requirement adopted by state education officials Thursday.

Several people, including teachers who had immigrated to this country, opposed the move, saying it could be used in a discriminatory fashion to target good teachers who happen to have heavy accents.

“Students could complain they just don’t understand me,” said Viola Egbuniwe, a science teacher in Providence who moved to this country from Nigeria in 1974.

No one in Rhode Island seems to know exactly how many teachers may not be competent in English, but the state’s largest district, Providence, has acknowledged it struggles with the problem. And several districts have moved away from bilingual education in recent years, placing teachers who are native speakers of foreign languages in classes for which they may not be adequately trained.

The Board of Regents for Elementary and Secondary Education approved a new regulation in March that requires all teachers in public schools to be competent in English, and that requires the testing of teachers who are identified as struggling with English.

Full story...

New York councilmen seek to make business signs mostly in English

NEW YORK, July 3, 2011 (AP)—The teeming streets of Flushing, Queens, can feel like a different country.

A booming Chinese population exists alongside a longtime Korean enclave. On a recent afternoon, the sidewalks were jammed with shoppers browsing and haggling in stores offering everything from iPhones to herbal remedies. Stalls selling fragrant dumplings and tea shops did a brisk business.

Day trippers from Manhattan or the suburbs often come to eat and shop here on weekends, savoring the broad array of foods and products available. But to some, the area can feel a little too foreign.

Republican City Councilmen Dan Halloran and Peter Koo are drafting legislation that would require store signs in the city to be mostly in English. They say police officers and firefighters need to be able to quickly identify stores.

The change also would protect consumers and allow local shops to expand outside their traditional customer base, the council members argue. But merchants say it would be an unnecessary and costly burden on small businesses and would homogenize diverse pockets of the city that cater mostly to immigrant residents.

"People must respect that this is a special area and please respect the Asian culture," said Peter Tu, executive director of the Flushing Chinese Business Association. "They have their own life in this area. When you walk in the street, you don't feel like you are in America."

Full story...

Language a barrier on test scores
By Joe Dejka, World-Herald

OMAHA, Nebraska, July 6, 2011—When parents descended on the Crete Public Schools for parent-teacher conferences last school year, 22 Spanish translators hired by the district were there to greet them.
“It's incredibly important,” Superintendent Kyle McGowan said. “We don't want language to be a barrier.”

Breaking down the language barrier is one facet of the small Nebraska district's approach to raising Hispanic achievement as its minority population grows sharply, largely drawn by employment at a local meatpacking plant.

The report reveals the language barrier as a key reason why the nation's Hispanic students continue to score lower than their white peers on national math and reading tests.

An achievement gap has persisted relatively unchanged over the past two decades nationally.
At the same time, both whites and Hispanics have improved their scores steadily, if slightly, according to the report from the U.S. Department of Education.

Similar gaps exist in Nebraska and Iowa, where Hispanics represent the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the schools.

On 2009 national reading tests, the gap in Iowa and Nebraska was narrower than the national average. In math, the two states' gaps generally reflected the nation.

Experts caution against making direct comparisons because some states, like Nebraska, are dealing with a flood of new immigrants, while other states have more established Hispanic populations who speak English and have assimilated into the culture.

Full story...


In experiments with language, spoken English is the latest
By Shiv Sahay Singh,

July 16, 2011—From abolishing English in primary classes in 1982 by the Left Front government to the recent proposal by the Mamata Bannerjee government to making spoken English mandatory for children from Class I, the state’s experiments with English education have continued for the last three decades.

As per the recent announcement, every child admitted to government or government-sponsored school will have to go through spoken English classes and hone up their language skills.

State School Education Minister Bratya Basu said, “Because of faulty experiments with English education, many generations in the state found it difficult to get jobs where communicating in English is important. We don’t want our future generations to face such humiliations.”

“The introduction of spoken English is a welcome step,” said leading academician Sunando Sanyal. Sanyal has been part of various committees formed for re-introduction of English.

However, some intellectuals have doubted the efficacy of the new system in the absence of compulsory exams for children up to VIII.

Full story...

Bollywood gets the Hinglish effect

July 11, 2011—After “Dhobi Ghat,” “Delhi Belly” has now been released in English. Fans of “Delhi Belly” enjoyed both the versions but as they put it — angrezi mein Hindi galiyon ka dum nahi aya. But why this sudden trend of making cinema in English, or more appropriately Hinglish?

Director Mani Shankar says, “There are millions of English speakers in our country nowadays. It is, I think, but natural, that films are made in English or Hinglish.” Director Kabir Khan agrees, “English is no longer a foreign language. The film portrays the urban middle class and it is only natural that they speak in English. It mirrors real life and that is one more reason why the film is being appreciated so much. The film is very true to the urban lingo youngsters follow these days.

Sreejith, a software engineer, who saw both versions, agrees with the director and says, “I liked the Hinglish version more. In the Hindi one, it seemed like they were using expletives all the time. The Hinglish version was more natural and fun. This film shows exactly how urban youth interact with each other and so we could identify with the language. As for Bollywood taking to English, I think it is but natural. This was not set in a village, so the use of English makes perfect sense.”

Agreeing with him is Pratiksha, an MNC employee, who says, “I feel that in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, we all speak in Hinglish. Forget that, here we speak a mixture of English, Hindi, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada, depending on where your friends are from. That gives filmmakers a lot of ideas and opportunities and also helps when such films are screened abroad in international film festivals.”

Full story...

Rickshaw drivers and housewives in India trained to speak good English

July 4, 2011—A unique batch of students, comprising rickshaw drivers and housewives, is looking up to better opportunities in life after completing a course in English

Milind Kate walks confidently up to the podium. He looks around at the packed room facing him and takes a deep breath. “Good afternoon Honourable Shri Sanjay Chordia, Honourable Shri Baba Adhav, Honourable Shri Deepak Shikarpur, faculty and my friends. I am proud to be a part of the Suryadatta family...” Five minutes later, he takes his seat again, after having delivered a speech in fluent English.

Why the fuss, you ask? Only because Milind Kate is a rickshaw driver who, up until six months ago, could not speak a word of English.

Suryadatta Group of Institutes had undertaken an initiative to conduct a second workshop for 40 housewives and 40 rickshaw drivers from Karvenagar area. The course, which ended on June 24, was aimed at providing these individuals with the basic tools of the English language and computer learning.

Full story...

India to teach English to Kyrgyz armed forces

NEW DELHI, July 6, 2011—India is sending a team to Kyrgyzstan to train its armed forces in UN peacekeeping operations and also impart English language skills. The team will arrive in the central Asian country by the end of this month, a defence ministry spokesperson said.

The decision was announced after a meeting between defence minister A K Antony and his Kyrgyz counterpart Major General Abibilla Kudayberdiev in Bishkek on Monday. Antony is leading a defence delegation to Kyrgyzstan.

Antony said though the present level of defence engagements were rather limited between the two sides, there was “potential to enhance the scope and scale of activities in a gradual manner in areas of mutual interest, particularly in the field of military training, defence research and development and production of defence armaments.”

On Tuesday, Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva and Antony inaugurated the Kyrgyz-Indian Mountain Biomedical Research Centre at Bishkek. The spokesperson said the centre will carry out research on the mechanism of short term and long term high altitude adaptation. "It will also mobilize and synchronise the expertise of the two countries in the area of high altitude research," he said.

Full story...


Lack of English proficiency contributes to high failure rate in Namibia                                      

July 8, 2011—About 100 linguistics experts from all over the world are attending the annual Poetics and Language Association (PALA) Conference which is currently taking place at the Polytechnic of Namibia in the capital.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Education Minister, Dr Abraham Iyambo, said English is being taught from the cradle to the grave in many parts of the world.

“But this teaching must be done properly by trained teachers. The teaching of English should not be at the exclusion or neglect of indigenous languages. Do we have these trained teachers? I do not think that we have them in enough numbers in Namibia. Is it obvious that proficiency in the English language will enable learners to perform better in other subjects because these subjects are taught and written in English,” he said.

Iyambo added that it is a fact of life that if learners have deficient English language reading, writing, listening and speaking skills; then they will not understand those subjects written and taught in English.

According to Iyambo, the strident call for the introduction of Science and Mathematics will remain just that, unless equally vocal measures are taken to improve the teaching of English in educational institutions.

Full story...

Saudi Arabia

International firms being hired for English teaching at schools

JEDDAH, July 10, 2011—English will be taught from the fourth year in 284 elementary boys’ and girls’ schools in Makkah province from the next academic year, which begins Sept. 10, the local education officials announced Sunday.

Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education for Planning and Development Naif Al-Roumi said the ministry would seek the help of international firms to teach the language. He said the ministry has so far received offers from three of these firms.

“The ministry is determined to arm students with languages so that they take our culture to foreign societies, spread Islam and serve humanity,” he said.

The Ministry of Education has already chosen 30 boys’ and 30 girls’ schools to apply the project aimed at expanding the teaching of English from the first intermediate school year.

Eight intermediate schools have already implemented the project of expanding the teaching of English at the second year as part of a pilot program, bringing the total number of boys’ and girls’ schools in Makkah teaching the language to 352.

According to the Department of Education for Makkah province, English will be extensively taught to fourth-year elementary students and second-year intermediate students.

Full story...

Few jobs for Saudi graduates without English

July 9, 2011—There is a wide gap between what students learn at universities and what is required by the job market. Private companies mostly want graduates with English language skills and experience, which they lack and has resulted in many Saudis being unable to find work.

Amr Fallata, a media graduate, thinks there are more job opportunities for university and college graduates, but not enough. Most jobs are for scientific and administrative majors.

“Despite my high grades I could not get a government job and turned to the private sector.” Pursuing higher studies would be the solution because the high number of bachelor’s degree graduates has meant less job vacancies, he added.

Ali Saud, an education graduate, said he and his fellow graduates will only be able to get positions as teachers. “But there are earlier batches that graduated years ago and have still not been employed,” he said. “What about the antiquities college in Hail? Would its graduates find jobs?” he wondered.

Saleh Nami, an English language graduate, thinks there may be more opportunities to teach English at primary school level. Abdulrahman Makkawi, a chemistry graduate, said while the private and public sector require experience and English, universities have not fulfilled their role in terms of teaching English.

Full story...

South Korea

Improving English is top New Year resolution for salaried workers

August 1, 2011—Improving foreign language skills, especially English, was the goal that employees want to achieve the most in the New Year, with 56.8 percent of 944 people surveyed making the statement, according to the recruitment company Saramin.

When multiple replies were allowed, the other most common New Year resolutions included self-improvement (47.7 percent), saving money (36.5 percent), and maintaining good health (26.8 percent).

The survey results come at a time when an increasing number of people are signing up to take English classes at private institutes. YBM, one of the largest English schools, sees about a 60 percent rise in the number of attendees every January compared with other months.

“We have many students during summer, but have more in winter because English study is one of the most common New Year resolutions for both students and workers. Employees usually take early morning or late evening classes,”' Cha Kyung-sim, of YBM's marketing and PR department, said.

Due to financial constraints, some people have chosen to study at home alone instead of attending institutes. According to online auctioneer Auction, the sales of language study materials such as TOEIC handbooks increased by 20 percent in December compared to the previous month.

Full story...

Busan Global Village emerges as major English education center
By Song Sang-ho, The Korea Herald

June 30, 2011—Busan Global Village is emerging as the country’s key center for English education, thanks to a variety of unique programs tailored to the needs of different age groups and its location in the center of the southeastern port city.

Since it opened in July 2009, BGV has gained much recognition from inside and outside of the country’s second largest city as it seeks to offer a low-cost and effective alternative to overseas language learning.

For the last two years, more than 100,000 people have learned English at BGV, which now seeks to transform itself into a leading English education center representing the country.

Kim Ji-seon, a 32-year-old housewife in Dongrae-gu, Busan, said that she is satisfied with the three-month “Happy School” course designed to give toddlers a head start in English education.

“I take my 25-month-old son to the Happy School class every Thursday. This is a class my son and I attend together,” she said. “Compared with programs offered by other language institutes, the BGV course is far more satisfactory and its price is very reasonable.”

Full story...

Koreans struggle to solve English quagmire

SEOUL, June 17, 2011 (Yonhap)—No English. No job. No future. At least that's what many Koreans believe these days, and they will do almost anything to improve their English skills.

Parents pour huge amounts of money into a bottomless English-craze pit, while students stay late into the night at private cram schools finding ways to hack the "terrible" TOEIC, as many here call the dreaded standardized English test.

"In many countries around the world, there is a push from governments, employers and parents to improve levels of English, but Korea probably tops the league table for anxiety about English proficiency," says David Graddol, a well-known British writer, broadcaster, lecturer and consultant on issues related to global English and educational trends.

The British Council commissioned Graddol to write two of his most famous works: The Future of English and its follow-up, English Next. Both books report on the global development of English as a world language.

He says that in Korea, "too much emphasis is placed on the power of English to transform people's lives."

Few countries in the world spend more time and money learning English. According to a 2006 study by the Samsung Economic Research Institute, Koreans spend around US$15 billion per year on private English education. That's more money than the gross domestic product, or GDP, of Laos, Jamaica or Iceland.

Full story...

Top universities use reputations to run pricey English camps

June 13, 2011—"It`s so expensive even if the university`s name value is considered," a mother of two daughters said who planned to send them, one in middle school and the other in elementary school, to an English-language summer camp run by a Korean university.

She gave up, however, due to expensive tuition of a combined 6 million won (5,540 U.S. dollars) for a three-month program.

"Certain English camps in the Philippines with the same schedule cost less than 3 million won (2,770 dollars)," she said, adding, "It`s unpleasant to see domestic universities apparently encourage expensive private education."

In the run-up to summer vacation, major universities in Seoul are recruiting elementary, middle and high school students for English camps. Such programs are so popular among parents that the universities hold briefing sessions on them. Certain parents even have a far-fetched expectation that such programs will help their children enter a given university.

The problem is the cost of a camp can exceed 1 million won (923 dollars) per month. Tuition is 3.1 million won (2,862 dollars) at the 19-day Sogang English Workshop run by Sogang University¡¯s English education center SLP. Native English speakers and Korean teachers will give lectures in the program that begins July 25.

I-Oedae, an English education company under Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, will open the 2011 I-Oedae Summer English Camp for students in fifth and sixth grade and seventh and eighth grade from July 22 through Aug. 10. The program costs 2.94 million won (2,714 dollars) per student.

Full story...


Preparing English teachers

July 24, 2011—Five students were recently awarded the Tun Dr Mahathir Internship Scheme, sponsored by ELS Language Centres.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia students Alia Diyana Hosni and Siti Nur Farahin Hamdan, UNISEL student Farahani Mohd Zakaria, Universiti Malaya student G. Devan, and Universiti Teknologi Mara student Mohammad Khairul Firdaos Fadzil were selected based on their strong academic qualifications, participation in extra curricular activities, and recommendation by their university lecturers as well as through interviews with members of the review committee.

They began their three-month internship at ELS Language Centres last month.

“We are delighted to offer these scholarships to students pursuing The teaching of TESL (the teaching of English as a Second language)/TESOL (the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages) degree programme with the aim of providing adequate training and employment opportunities for young Malaysian English language teachers,” said ELS Malaysia vice-president (Operations) Robert Brander at a ceremony.

He added that the centre not only aspires to produce qualified English language teachers, but also quality educators who are leaders in the field.

From thorough reviews of grammar, writing and phonology in their first month of internship, the students improved their language skills, before building their classroom teaching skills.

Full story...

Malaysia wants more English volunteer teachers from US

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2011—Malaysia has asked the US State Department to consider sending 300 English volunteer teachers to Malaysia under the Fulbright Programme.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who disclosed this, said the increased number sought was due to the Government’s greater emphasis on English Language proficiency in schools.

He said he had held several rounds of discussions with Education Ministry officials on the matter and the consensus was that more volunteer teachers were needed.

Muhyiddin, who is Education Minister, said students in rural schools in Terengganu were already being taught English under a US-funded English Language assistance programme, with an English Language Teacher Development Project being conducted by the British Council in Sabah and Sarawak.

“But we are hoping that the US Government will consider increasing the volunteers pledged to us under the Fullbright Programme to 300,” he said. “We have agreed to finance part of the costs, such as accommodation and allowances involved, and have set aside an initial allocation of US$1mil (RM3mil).”

Full story...

Poor English skills: “Rot started in the 70s”
By Teoh El Sen, Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA, June 19, 2011—The lack of proficiency in the English language among the current crop of Malaysians does not come as a surprise at all to academicians.

They say the rot started when the medium of instruction was switched from English to Malay in the 1970s.

Malaysia was ranked third after Singapore and the Philippines in an English level assessment test conducted by online recruitment company

Thailand and Indonesia came in fourth and fifth respectively.

“There has been a clear decline of English language proficiency over the past 20 years,” said an English lecturer with over 37 years of experience.

The lecturer, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the rot set in since the 1970s, when the medium of instruction was switched from English to BM.

“From then on, our children were less exposed to the language. Another reason is the lack of emphasis on English as it now not a compulsory subject to pass,” he said.

Full story...


Few bosses sent their “foreign talents” for English test
Temasek Review

June 27, 2011—The PAP regime’s “wayang” to encourage employers to send their “foreign talents” for a non-compulsory English test following widespread complaints by Singaporeans and tourists alike at their poor command of the English language appears to backfire dramatically as there are few takers.

The Service Literacy Test (SLT) was introduced last year to help boost the English standards of work permit holders working in the service industry and those who pass the test will have to pay $100 in foreign worker levy.

Despite the “carrot,” only 420 companies enrolled a total of 1,650 work permit holders for the test, according to figures from the Manpower Ministry (MOM), a fraction of some 422,000 work permit holders employed in the manufacturing, process and service industries as of December last year.

When contacted by the state media, MOM refused to divulge the passing rate of those foreigners who took the test.

Unlike other countries, Singapore does not impose any mandatory English tests for foreigners seeking employment in Singapore.

Full story...

Thai students “must learn languages”

June 20, 2011—Thai students have been urged to improve their English and also learn a third language so they can compete with people from other Southeast Asian nations when the region becomes a single economic community of more than 600 million people in 2015.

Sakkarin Niyomsilpa, a demographic expert at Mahidol University's Institute for Population and Social Research (IPSR), said Thailand's weakness was its language limitations, especially in English. He said Filipino labourers could speak better English than Thais, giving them a much better chance of getting hired in other countries.

It was now time for Thai students to improve their English and learn a third language such as Vietnamese, Bahasa, Japanese or Korean, he added.

Mr. Sakkarin said if the education system and students paid no attention to language improvement, Thailand might lose its competitive edge to Vietnam as many Vietnamese could now speak English or even Thai.

He recently addressed an IPSR seminar entitled "A Turning Point For The Thai Population; A Turning Point For Thai Society" that discussed the kingdom's situation as it prepares for the launch of the Asean Community.

Full story...

Record 1million pupils speak English as a second language
By Graeme Paton,

June 22, 2011—A record one-in-six pupils in primary schools and one-in-eight in secondary education speak another language at home, it was disclosed.

The proportion of children starting school with a relatively poor grasp of English has now doubled in just over a decade.

In some parts of London, as many as three-quarters of pupils speak other languages, according to figures.

The disclosure comes despite concerns over cuts in funding to teach pupils with English as a second language. A ring-fenced grant set aside to boost language skills among foreign pupils was abolished by the Coalition, with money now devolved to local councils to spend as they see fit.
But head teachers’ leaders claim this has led to cash drying up in some areas as councils use the money to subsidise cuts to other services.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said funding had been “cut back quite extensively” by certain authorities.
“Support for these pupils is vitally important,” he said. “These children are just as able as other pupils but they’ll fail to access the curriculum if they are behind in literacy and linguistic skills.”

Full story...


How “chairman” became “president”

By Eric Jou, China Daily

July 31, 2011—China’s rampant foray into the English language has created a mess in the translation field with more and more amateur translators.

A key problem: The ability to speak English and Chinese does not make a translator, says Huang Youyi, vice-chairman of the International Federation of Translators and also of the Translators Association of China (TAC)

Huang, 58, the vice- president of China International Publishing Group, says that despite the rise in China’s foreign language proficiency, particularly in English, there are still too few top-notch translators working.

“Society tends assume you are capable of doing translation if you know a foreign language, but that’s not the case,” said Huang. “To know a foreign language is only one of the basic requirements.”

To Huang, being a top translator demands an understanding of culture and language combined.
Huang didn’t exactly pick his career track but embraced the chance to study language, leading him to become a translator.

During the time that Huang was a university student, China was going through the changing times of the “cultural revolution.” Huang, a Beijing native, was relocated to work in the countryside. It wasn’t until 1971 that he returned to school.

Full story...

Reading the key to improving English skills
By Hong Liang, China Daily

July 12, 2011—Other than the "historical legacy", there is really no reason for the government to continue subsidizing the English Schools Foundation which operates five secondary schools, nine primary schools and one for students with special needs in Hong Kong.

As Secretary for Education Michael Suen Ming-yeung has said, "ESF's funding issue is a problem arising from a historical legacy, which needs to be resolved."

ESF was established specifically to provide education to expatriate - mainly British - children living in Hong Kong. But in recent years, nearly half the students attending the various ESF schools are children of local Chinese parents, who are convinced about the benefits of an all-English language education.

For these parents, ESF schools are preferred over other international schools because of their comparatively lower fees.

The question is why tax payers' money should be used to subsidize ESF schools which are little different from any other private international school? Instead, the government should consider a program to provide financial help to children of non-Chinese speaking expatriates who cannot afford the lofty fees of the international schools.

Full story...

Reading the key to improving English skills
By Hong Liang, China Daily

July 12, 2011—Other than the "historical legacy", there is really no reason for the government to continue subsidizing the English Schools Foundation which operates five secondary schools, nine primary schools and one for students with special needs in Hong Kong.

As Secretary for Education Michael Suen Ming-yeung has said, "ESF's funding issue is a problem arising from a historical legacy, which needs to be resolved."

ESF was established specifically to provide education to expatriate - mainly British - children living in Hong Kong. But in recent years, nearly half the students attending the various ESF schools are children of local Chinese parents, who are convinced about the benefits of an all-English language education.

For these parents, ESF schools are preferred over other international schools because of their comparatively lower fees.

The question is why tax payers' money should be used to subsidize ESF schools which are little different from any other private international school? Instead, the government should consider a program to provide financial help to children of non-Chinese speaking expatriates who cannot afford the lofty fees of the international schools.

Full story...

English training stand-out explains the reason for his success

June 16, 2011—A leading private Chinese education institution is looking for overseas investment and capital injection to make it more competitive.

Yun Guanqiu, the chairman of the Beijing Talenty Education Institution, which runs Talenty English, explains it this way, "We expect more far-sighted investors or partners overseas to join us in a number of areas in English education, such as textbook publishing, multi-media teaching, human resources, and management."

Talenty, which will celebrate its 15th anniversary soon, has grown into one of the top names in private English education in China, with a special focus on children and teenagers.

It has won a number of awards, such as one of the Top 10 Competitive English Education Institutions, Most Valuable English Trainer for Primary School Students, and Most Satisfactory English Training Name in China.

Yun, who is 45 and a renowned figure in his field, added, "We'll never just sit there resting on our laurels, but will devote ourselves to being the most professional, best English training institution for children and teenagers, in China."

It is hardly surprising, in view of his group's success, that Yun himself has been praised, for example, for being one of Asia's Top 100 Innovative Celebrities, one of China's Outstanding Educators, and one of China's Management Talents, among other similar awards.

Full story...

China’s Sina to internationalize Weibo, launch English-language service

June 20, 2011—Sina Corporation announced plans earlier this month to invest in an English version of its micro-blogging service, Weibo, aimed generally at overseas users.

“We’re now developing an English-language microblog service, but there is no timetable to launch it,” Sina’s Spokesperson Mao Taotao told the China Daily. “The service is aimed at overseas users, but we don’t target users from a particular country.”

The program is reportedly still in the early development stages and Mao was unable to confirm whether or not the English version would constitute a new interface to the traditional Weibo service or if this would amount to a new service altogether.

The announcement also prompted questions as to whether or not Sina plans to position Weibo on the global stage as a direct competitor to similar English sites such as Twitter. Sina’s spokesperson dismissed such questions, while back in April the company’s chief executive, Charles Chao, suggested that such a move is not an immediate concern for the company and that if Weibo were to compete outside of China, it would likely be through foreign partnerships.

Full story...


Traditional approaches to English education should be changed, says minister

June 20, 2011—English language proficiency is considered one of the key elements in developing international competitiveness. Taiwan ranks 25 out of 44 non-native English speaking countries around the world, according to a study by English First, the world's largest private educational institution.

Despite the vast amounts of money spent by the government on English education, the ubiquitous presence of English cram schools and President Ma Ying-jou's pledge to increase the nation's international competitiveness, many college graduates in Taiwan still have difficulty having basic conversations in English despite over a decade of learning English.

Currently all third grade elementary school students and above have regular English classes on a weekly basis. According to the Ministry of Education (MOE), elementary schools can start teaching English from the first grade. However, most schools in Taiwan outside of Taipei and New Taipei have not introduced these programs due to limited resources.

According to the MOE's white paper on international education at local junior high and elementary schools, the ministry hopes to extend English language education to all elementary school students in Taiwan over the next decade. Wu said the ministry has commissioned the National Academy for Educational Research to study the appropriateness of this proposal, although currently there is no specific timeline for the implementation.

Full story...

MHA asks central offices, PSUs and banks to use local language

NEW DELHI, June 18, 2011—All central government offices, Public Sector Undertakings and banks across the country will now write sign-boards and name-plates in the 'second official language' as well, in addition to Hindi and English.

The home ministry taken the decision in order to give due prominence to the 'second official language', which is different in different states and Union Territories.

"The boards, sign-boards, name-plates and directional signs will be written/printed/inscribed/embossed in Hindi (the national language) first (in Hindi speaking states). The order of the other languages including English will be determined by the department concerned or the state concerned," said the home ministry in a statement.

The decision will, however, not affect the “order” in the non-Hindi speaking states. These states will continue to use regional languages, Hindi and English, in that order. The font sizes of the texts of all the languages will be of the same size.

Full story...


Moore slams language watchdog over “secret shoppers” 17
By Jessica Murphy, Toronto Sun    

OTTAWA, August 3, 2011—Heritage Minister James Moore doesn’t agree with the federal language watchdog’s decision to spy on Ottawa businesses.

Moore, who oversees official languages, said his government believes it’s important to protect and promote both English and French in Canada, but in this case, Official Languages commissioner Graham Fraser has overstepped his mandate.

“It is not the federal government’s business to police the language in which private businesses communicate with their customers,” Moore said in an e-mail Wednesday.

Moore was responding to an initiative by Fraser’s office to send “mystery shoppers” posing as unilingual Francophone tourists into downtown Ottawa stores.

The commissioner’s spokesman, Nelson Kalil, maintained the project wasn’t meant to “to name or shame, or dictate to companies,” but to give an overview of the French-language services available in the national capital.

Results will be published in the commissioner’s 2012 annual report, which usually only audits federal and related institutions.

Full story...

Starting at home: A revival of Cree culture
By Jason Warick, Postmedia News

LAC LA RONGE, Saskatchewan, July 23, 2011— Several of Louisa Ratt’s Cree kindergarten students cringe as John McLeod pulls the hair and skin from the head of a dead moose.

McLeod, one of several instructors at a cultural camp held on the grounds of Bell’s Point elementary school, explains that none of the animal will be wasted.

By one of the teepees, an elder instructs older students in the art of oar making. Under the shade of a birch thicket, another elder tells stories in Cree to a group of kids sitting attentively.

And at the outdoor kitchen, Beatrice Charles and other helpers prepare bannock loaves, moose meat soup, smoked beaver and other dishes. Fish filets are being smoked in the adjacent open teepee.

The atmosphere is festive, but officials say the camp is about something much deeper. It’s one part of a major push by the Lac La Ronge Indian Band — and a number of school divisions and First Nations — to revive the Cree language and traditions.

“We want to save the Cree language and culture and this is how we plan to do it,” said Minnie McKenzie, co-ordinator and curriculum developer for the Gift of Language and Culture program.

“The old people are impressed with the amount the students are learning.”

Full story...

Smoothing your accent to make yourself better understood
By Tamara Baluja, Globe and Mail

July 15, 2011—Michel Ricard knew he was facing a hurdle when he couldn’t say his employer’s name properly in English.

“I couldn’t say Heinz,” he said, stressing the letter H, which in French is always silent at the beginning of a word. “It was almost impossible, and people would look at me strangely when I said ’einz Canada,” recalls the 48-year-old francophone.

Pronouncing his employer’s name properly wasn’t as much of an issue for the Montreal native when he was Heinz’s director of sales in Quebec, but he found his French-Canadian accent to be problematic when he became national sales director for H.J. Heinz Co. of Canada Ltd.

“I could see people weren’t really listening to me when I was giving a speech, or they would ask me a question later that showed me they hadn’t got what I said,” Mr. Ricard said.

Although he considered himself fluent in English, his accent seemed to be tripping him up. “It was very frustrating, very stressful. I felt like I wasn’t doing my job properly.”

So three years ago, Mr. Ricard’s supervisors brought in Bonnie Gross, a Toronto speech pathologist, to help him smooth his accent.

Full story...

French-language crusader pops Air Canada for $12,000

OTTAWA, July 13, 2011—The Federal Court of Canada on Wednesday ordered Air Canada to pay $12,000 to Ottawa French-language rights crusader Michel Thibodeau in part because when he asked an English-speaking flight attendant for 7Up in May 12 of 2009, he got Sprite.

"The applicants' language rights are clearly very important to them and the violation of their rights caused them a moral prejudice, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of their vacation," Justice Marie-Josee Bedard wrote in her judgment.

"It is also my opinion that awarding damages in this case will serve the purpose of emphasizing the importance of the rights at issue and will have a deterrent effect."

Air Canada was also ordered to apologize to Thibodeau and his wife Lynda.

It is Thibodeau's second successful legal action against the airline and its subsidiaries. In 2000, he was refused service in French when he tried to order a 7Up from a unilingual English flight attendant on an Air Ontario flight from Montreal to Ottawa.

Thibodeau filed suit in Federal Court for $525,000 in damages. The court upheld his complaint, ordered the airline to make a formal apology and pay him $5,375.95. Thibodeau was later honoured by the French-language rights group, Imperatif Francais.

Full story...


20-year-old national English daily awarded Independence Order

HA NOI, June 16, 2011—Viet Nam's only national English language daily, the Viet Nam News, has been awarded the Independence Order, third-class, today for its contributions to the country's information service for foreigners.

The noble award granted by the President of Viet Nam is a huge source of pride for more than 150 staff at the newspaper on the occasion of its 20th birthday (which falls on June 17).

Addressing a ceremony organised in Ha Noi to mark the newspaper's anniversary, Politburo member and Minister-Chairman of the Government Office Nguyen Xuan Phuc, said the Viet Nam News had been "one of the nation's effective channels of information for foreign readers" since its launch in June, 1991.

"During the past 20 years, the Viet Nam News has performed its function of disseminating the Party and State's policies well. It has provided timely and comprehensive information on the political, economic and social situation of Viet Nam and its people," said the Government official.

With the newspaper's incredible efforts in lifting its efficiency and expertise, the Viet Nam News daily and its monthly magazine Outlook, in both forms of print and electronic media, have won the confidence of expat readers and the overseas Vietnamese community.

Full story...


$3.5 million grant awarded for teaching English education in Afghanistan

July 14, 2011—This month, U.S. troops began withdrawing from Afghanistan. Thirty thousand troops are expected to return home by next summer.

Now, as the country begins the process of standing on its own legs, the U.S. State Department has awarded an IU center nearly $3.5 million to help teach English education there.

The $3,487,454 grant will fund a three-year project organized by IU’s Center for Social Studies and International Education.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul and the American University of Afghanistan will serve as partners for the project, which will be directed by two IU School of Education faculty members.

Its goal is to develop and implement a master’s degree in English language education at Kabul Education University in Afghanistan.

The faculty members, Terry Mason and Mitzi Lewison, have worked with Afghan higher education for a number of years, establishing an education master’s degree at Kabul — the first master’s degree ever offered there — and bringing Afghan educators to study at IU.

Full story...


Kenyan girl beats world in English examination
By Christine Mungai, Nation
July 15, 2011—Shiro Keziah Wachira is extremely articulate, almost disarmingly so. She is only 16, but speaks like a person twice her age.

The first time one meets her, one is taken aback by her eloquent and coherent speech, devoid of redundancies like “umm”, “as in”, “like” and “yaani” that characterise a typical Kenyan teenager’s speech.

“We only speak English at home. I read everything, and that’s mostly due to the influence of my mum and dad. We have a big library in our house. I can’t really say I have a favourite genre of literature, I give anything a shot,” says Shiro.

Her parents’ influence has certainly paid off. The former student of St Austin’s Academy, Nairobi, scored the highest marks in the world in English Language when she sat for her Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) O-level examinations in June 2010.

She beat more than 420,000 students from all over the world.

“The news was unexpected, but I was very proud of myself,” she says.

Her English teacher at St Austin’s, Mr Frank Atuti, says she is an exceptional student and that her command of the English language is far beyond that of her peers.

Full story...


Sixty judges, court personnel complete English language course
July 10, 2011—A group of 60 Supreme Court judges and other court workers have completed four months of intensive training in the English language.

The training pilot programme was conducted by US Peace Corps in cooperation with the Rwandan Government, the Millennium Challenge Corporation Threshold Program - Rwanda Justice Strengthening Project (MCC JSP).

The programme's objective was to serve as an aid and catalyst for the justice system's transition from a Francophone civil law to an Anglophone hybrid common-civil law system.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Fabian Yankurije, one of the trainees, said that he benefited a lot from the programme since he can now speak and write in English without any difficulty.

"Now I am able to conduct court proceedings in English, for instance, in trans-national cases or foreign investment disputes," he said.

Speaking at the event, Supreme Court Deputy Chief Justice, Sam Rugege, observed that the English language remains a major concern for the Rwanda judiciary.

Full story...


151 graduations frozen over faked English test scores

Surabaya, July 18, 2011—After it was discovered that they had falsified their English-language proficiency scores, 151 students from Surabaya State University were prevented from graduating over the weekend.

Heru Siswanto, the university’s head of public relations, said on Monday that the students from a variety of majors had failed to obtain the minimum score of 400 out of 677 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), which was a prerequisite for graduating.

“We canceled their graduation because of the falsification,” he said.

“We’ve now given them four months in which to do a make-up TOEFL test and improve their scores.”

Despite the fact that the students had knowingly falsified their scores to make it seem as though they had passed, he said the university had still not decided whether to hand down any disciplinary sanctions against them.

Heru said the university was inclined to take a lenient stance on the students, including treating them as the victims in this case. He claimed they had “fallen prey to irresponsible parties who took advantage of their desperation after not attaining the required TOEFL score.”

“As an institute of higher learning, we will work with the police to identify and punish the wrongdoers in this case,” he said.

He declined to say whether the university suspected the students had been aided in the falsification by officials from the school’s Language Center, although he said this was a possibility now being investigated.

Full story...


Looking for qualified English teachers
By Katarína Koreňová,

August 1, 2011—The idea of compulsory English in Slovakia’s schools has opened the gates for arguments, both for and against the concept from its very inception. Nevertheless, the Slovak Parliament overrode a presidential veto of the amendment to the Education Act on March 1.

Starting in September this year, English will be mandatory for all incoming third-grade pupils.
Education Minister Eugen Jurzyca has said that his ministry hopes students will master at least one foreign language by the age of 15. In an interview with the weekly .týždeň he argued that “English is the language of experts and to a great extent also of diplomats,” noting that more than half of EU member states have compulsory English in their educational systems. Slovakia is the 14th to take that step.

Opponents of the new legislation do not necessarily disapprove of mandatory English classes. Apart from those who object to what they call the unreasonable preference for English over other foreign languages in the curricula, the most common concern is a lack of qualified educators to teach those classes.

“We do not have enough English teachers, either qualified or unqualified,” says Eva Tandlichová, Professor Emeritus of the Department of British and American Studies at Comenius University in Bratislava, and a recognized expert in the field of teacher training.

Full story...


Copyright © 2010 by Aperture Web Development. All rights reserved.

Page best viewed with:

Mozilla FirefoxGoogle Chrome

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!

Page last modified: 8 August, 2011, 4:50 p.m.