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When government intervenes

January 30, 2008

Hello again,

In the UK the ESOL debacle continues. First we had an ESOL syllabus and courses offered free to qualifying students who needed to pass specific tests in English in ...

...order to obtain British citizenship.

Next we had a fees overhaul with the result that, at the start of the 2007/2008 academic year, students seeking ESOL qualifications did not know if they had to pay for tuition or not.

Now we have a direct intervention the part of government to dictate the length and content of an ESOL course that would be appropriate for migrant workers:

New funding priorities mean that shorter, 18-week courses, leading to ESOL for Work qualifications will become more common, as there are long waiting lists for places on ESOL courses for adult migrants. Eight UK exam boards are offering the new ESOL for Work courses. The government will fund £880 of each student’s course fees, with £330 to be made up by the learner or their employer.
order to obtain British citizenship.

The ELT professionals have years of experience and knowledge; the existing testing systems have been repeatedly refined. Let students no matter who they are pass through the systems, take their tests and sink or swim accordingly. Just don't tell us how long a course should be and what we should be teaching.

Quite apart from the increasing intrusiveness of government into the professional choices that should be left to the experts, I think we need to be aware that different occupations have widely differing language needs. To imagine that all skilled workers (Tier 2) will be adequately prepared by this 18-work course is simply pie in the sky.

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