Two students enjoy an unusual Esol classroom: the Painted Hall, a baroque masterpiece within one of the most famous London landmarks, the Old Royal Naval College at the heart of Unesco-heritage-listed Maritime Greenwich.
It was with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund – a body awarding grants to improve the UK’s heritage conservation and accessibility – in 2013 that the Esol programmes started. They have so far involved over 1,500 learners from further education colleges and other community providers from all over London.
The UK Home Office announced new English testing requirements for migrants in January, but misspelled ‘language’ in the press release, the Guardian reported. Red-faced officials were forced to correct the error – they’d spelt the word ‘langauge’ in a headline for the online announcement of new language requirements for the Tier 2 visa. Even a BBC Radio 4 presenter called it ‘beyond parody’ that the Home Office could misspell a word announcing a requirement for migrants to learn English.
Faced with plummeting oil prices, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education has put restrictions on eligibility for its $6 billion King Abdullah Scholarship Programme (Kasp), which since 2005 has sent hundreds of thousands of Saudi students abroad, the majority of them to the US. A higher education fair in Saudi Arabia has apparently been cancelled, and US university intensive English programmes already report fewer enrolments and applications from Saudis.
FIRST STEPS Bielefeld University in Germany is using robots to teach refugee children (Courtesy CITEC / Bielefeld University)
Four years into the Syrian conflict, English language departments of the world’s universities continue to devise new initiatives to teach English to Syrian refugees and refugees in general.