The UK government has awarded £6m ($9.5m or €7m) to various projects teaching English to non-native speakers in the country.
The projects are aimed at some 24,000 speakers in so-called ‘priority areas’ in London, the Midlands and the North of the country where many immigrant groups do not speak English.
One hundred and twenty four projects were put forward for funding where they were tasked with putting English into everyday life for non-native speakers. Six projects were accepted.
These hope to teach highly practical English such as dealing with doctors, shopping, using computers and so on. One project aims to teach shop staff to be “sympathetic listeners” so that customers will feel safe speaking English.
Some of the projects will use volunteer teachers and it is hoped that the projects will become self-funding in the future.
Whilst laudable, these projects do not replace the solid, structured lessons which used to be provided by the government.
And again it looks like English language teaching has been relegated: some of those involved will be volunteers which means teaching for free. Why is this? Why is teaching to be devalued like this?
This sounds like a quick fix option. The government is trying to do things on the cheap once more.Image © Chris JL