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Experts Tackling Education in Africa | Africa | English - 0 views

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    How do you fix education in Africa, where students have far fewer opportunities than their counterparts in other parts of the world? There are two schools of thought on the subject: do you invest bottom up? Or top down?

    The statistics are hard to ignore.  Sub-Saharan Africa is the lowest-ranked region in the world on the United Nations' education development index.

    The U.N. education agency (UNESCO) says a quarter of all children in sub-Saharan Africa do not go to school, and account for 43 percent of the world's out-of-school children.

    Meantime, the African Union (AU) has said the continent will need to recruit more than 2 million new teachers by 2015, just three years from now.

    While the U.N. and the AU agree on the scope of the education challenges facing the continent, they are from two separate schools of thought on how to remedy the situation.
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Thai schools urged to boost speaking | Education | Guardian Weekly - 0 views

  • The Thai government has embarked on an ambitious nationwide programme to teach English at least once a week in all state schools as part of the new 2012 English Speaking Year project.

    The initiative is intended to ease Thailand's entry into the Asean community in 2015, when southeast Asia becomes one economic zone and a universal language is required for communication and business.

    The project will focus on speaking English rather than studying its grammar, with teachers provided training through media modules and partnerships with foreign institutions, including English-language schools, according to Thailand's education ministry.

  • While the ministry aims to incentivise teachers to create an "English corner" in classrooms containing English-language newspapers, books and CDs, the programme is in no way mandatory and will rely instead on a system of rewards. Those who embrace the project may receive a scholarship to travel abroad or be given extra credit at the end of term, Sasithara said.
  • Native speakers will have a role to play in the project, said Sasithara, who expects to start recruiting teachers from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and US, as well as from countries where a high level of English is spoken, such as Singapore, the Philippines and India.
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Jobs galore for Kenyan teachers as Rwanda seeks tutors  - News |theeastafrica... - 0 views

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    Rwanda is planning to hire at least 4,000 teachers from the East African Community this month, opening an employment window for thousands of unemployed teachers in the region.



    The move is part of plans to scale up the use of English as the language of instruction in schools as well as increase its use in the largely French-speaking economy, as it seeks opportunities in the integrated EAC where English is the formal language of communication.
Teachers Without Borders

Vietnam demands English language teaching 'miracle' | Education | Guardian Weekly - 0 views

  • More than 80,000 English language teachers in Vietnam's state schools are expected to be confident, intermediate-level users of English, and to pass a test to prove it, as part of an ambitious initiative by the ministry of education to ensure that all young people leaving school by 2020 have a good grasp of the language.
  • But the initiative is worrying many teachers, who are uncertain about their future if they fail to achieve grades in tests such as Ielts and Toefl.

    "All teachers in primary school feel very nervous," said Nguyen Thi La, 29, an English teacher at Kim Dong Primary School in Hanoi.

    "It's difficult for teachers to pass this exam, especially those in rural provinces. B2 is a high score."

    "All we know is that if we pass we are OK. If we don't we can still continue teaching, then take another test, then if we fail that, we don't know."

  • "No teachers will be sacked if they are not qualified because we already know most of them are not qualified. No teachers will be left behind and the government will take care of them. But if the teachers don't want to improve, then parents will reject them because only qualified teachers will be able to run new training programmes."
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  • The state media recently reported that in the Mekong Delta's Ben Tre province, of 700 teachers who had been tested, only 61 reached the required score. In Hue, in central Vietnam, one in five scored B2 or higher when 500 primary and secondary teachers were screened with tests tailored by the British Council.
  • "B2 is achievable enough. The teachers I know want to improve their English but want their salaries to be higher so that they can have an incentive to try harder to meet the standard," said Tran Thi Qua, a teacher trainer from the education department in Hue.
  • "The government needs to fund courses to help improve the quality of the teachers, and pay them more money, but I think if teachers don't want to improve, then they should change jobs," she said.
  • A new languages-focused curriculum delivered by retrained teachers should be in place in 70% of grade-three classes by 2015, according to ministry plans, and available nationwide by 2019. English teaching hours are set to double and maths will be taught in a foreign language in 30% of high schools in major cities by 2015.
  • Rebecca Hales, a former senior ELT development manager at British Council Vietnam, said: "The ministry is taking a phased approach, which is commendable, but there are issues with supply and demand. They don't have the trained primary English teachers. The targets are completely unachievable at the moment."
  • "The teacher trainers we trained up are now at the mercy of the individual education departments. There's no evidence at this stage of a large-scale teacher training plan," Hales said.
  • "There are many challenges. We are dealing with everything, from training, salaries and policy, to promotion, how to train [teachers] then keep them in the system. I'm not sure if [Project 2020] will be successful. Other countries have spent billions on English language teaching in the private sector but still governments have been very unhappy with the outcomes."
Teachers Without Borders

allAfrica.com: Rwanda: Wanted - 4,000 English Teachers - 0 views

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    The Ministry of Education will recruit 4,000 teachers to teach in the English language in secondary schools, as part of its strategy to put the country at the same level with its EAC partners of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in creating higher education and job opportunities.

    In an exclusive interview with The New Times, the State Minister-in-charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Dr Mathias Harebamungu, said the recruitment will be done in January 2012 to coincide with the new academic year.
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In Battle to Save Chinese, It's Test vs. Test - China Real Time Report - WSJ - 0 views

  • Chinese students’ obsession with learning English is apparent. Chinese cities are littered with billboards and fliers for teaching institutes, and the demand for native-speaking teachers and tutors seems endless. For many, the TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language, ranks second only to the infamous gaokao college entrance exam as a driver of candle-burning study habits.

    Worried that this preoccupation with English is contributing to a decline in native language skills, officials at the Ministry of Education are now trying to get students to return to their linguistic roots. How? By introducing another test.

  • The test comes amid worrying signs of declining language proficiency in China. More than 30% of students failed a ministry-sponsored test administered last year to evaluate Beijing college students’ language skills, according to Xinhua. Many language instructors and others worry that young people in China are neglecting their mother tongue as technological advances like cellphones and computers have greatly reduced the need to hand-write Chinese characters — of which there are tens of thousands.

  • “In recent years, more and more Chinese people are paying attention to foreign-language studies while neglecting to polish their native language,” Dai Jiagan, director of the authority overseeing the exam, told Xinhua. “And many newly coined, nonstandard Internet phrases are confusing their Chinese.”

    There are around 300 million Chinese people learning English, China’s premier Wen Jiabao boasted in a 2009 speech. Last year, ETS, the creator of the TOEFL, said it saw a 30% increase year-to-year in the number of Chinese test takers.

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  • McKinsey & Co. estimates that China’s foreign-language business is worth $2.1 billion annually
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Are schools ready for English? | The Japan Times Online - 0 views

  • While many parents and other Japanese welcome the government's move to provide English education at an early age, some experts are concerned that most teachers are being forced to venture into uncharted waters with little preparation. In addition, devoting just one period a week to English won't be near enough to nurture children's language ability.
  • Japan has lagged behind its neighboring countries in introducing English lessons at an early age, and its impact is obvious in various statistics.
  • TOEFL data for 2004-2005 put Japan next to last in Asia, with an average score of only 191 points — just one point higher than North Korea. Afghanistan exceeded Japan by seven points, while Singapore had the top score at 254.
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  • Education ministry officials stressed that the new English lessons, Gaikokugo Katsudo (Foreign Language Activities), will be different from English lessons at the junior high level, and students won't be drilled on comprehensive grammar rules or vocabulary.
  • The goal of the new program is to help children experience and understand other languages and cultures, motivate them to actively communicate with foreigners and become familiar with the sounds and basic expressions of another language, the ministry says.
  • According to a survey last July and August by the think tank Benesse Educational Research and Development Center on 4,709 elementary school teachers nationwide, 68.1 percent of classroom teachers said they don't have much confidence or they have no confidence in teaching English.

  • The teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said one of his colleagues told him he was afraid of giving lessons with his broken English, while another pointed out the possibility that this will merely cause children to dislike English.

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    Come April, English classes will become mandatory for fifth- and sixth-graders, but a 29-year-old elementary school teacher in Tokyo has heard the concerns of her overwhelmed colleagues, especially the older ones, who have neither taught the language nor studied it since their university years decades ago.
Teachers Without Borders

allAfrica.com: Uganda: Rwanda Wants 1,000 English Teachers - 0 views

  • Kampala — RWANDA needs close to 1,000 English teachers following the country's switch from French to English as the language of instruction in schools.

    Rwanda wants teachers from Uganda and other neighbouring countries to support its switch to English.

  • "The Education Service Commission in collaboration with the ministry of education of Rwanda announced that the government of Rwanda has embarked on a massive recruitment of teachers of English," he wrote. "Teachers (will be sourced) from within and outside Rwanda; including the East African Community region."
  • owever, other sources say English teachers are needed across the country, giving an estimate of between 500 and 1,000 vacancies.

    "ILMI is ready to hire talented instructors to teach English and/or Business English to government officials and business executives in Rwanda," read an announcement on ESL-Jobs, an online jobmart.

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  • Rwanda has accordingly embarked on building the English language teaching capacity of all primary and secondary school teachers by organising and conducting English language training.
  • However, Rwanda's remuneration of teachers is not far better than Uganda's. According to an article published in the New Times, Rwanda's daily newspaper, last year, primary teachers in public institutions earn between Frw20,000 (about sh73,666) to Frw62,000 (about sh228,365) per month depending on their experience.
  • Until October 2008, education in Rwanda was dispensed in a mixture of its three official languages: local Kinyarwanda; French, which is spoken mainly by educated elite; and English, which was added in 1994.
  • Outside major towns, a vast majority speak only Kinyarwanda. Part of the government's rationale for the switch was that it intended to join the Commonwealth club of mainly former British colonies, which it did in late 2009.
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