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British Council boot camp boosts Thai teachers’ use of English

30-09-2018 Hits:209 News Matt Salusbury - avatar Matt Salusbury

Teacher Training News Matt Salusbury OVER 15,000 Thai teachers are now using English more often in their classes, following a three week ‘boot camp’ run by the British Council. Over 90 per...

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Examiners at Australian Ielts testing centres run by Ielts partner IDP Education will have to buy insurance covering them for AU$1 million worth of professional indemnity, register as small businesses and take a cut in income, according to the IDP Ielts Information Pack document leaked to The Australian newspaper.


The link between educational technology and better learning is not as direct as you might think, according to a report commissioned by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa).

In India’s west-coast state of Goa, a thirty-year-old debate over the medium of instruction has exploded after a hunger strike forced the local government to protect the rights of schools to teach in English, reports Chryselle D’Silva Dias from Goa.

Goa was a Portuguese colony until 1961, and is India’s foremost destination for foreign tourists. With tourism dominating its economy, fluency in English is greatly valued. In 1991 its government decreed English-medium schools in Grades I-IV (primary education) would no longer receive grants. In order to stay afloat, schools changed their medium of instruction (MOI) to local languages, Konkani or Marathi. These remained the MOI in the first four grades of Goa’s schools for the next twenty years. When they reached Standard V (the first year of secondary) thousands of children chose to revert to English-medium schools.

In 2011 parents’ association Forum of Rights of Children to Education (Force) launched a successful state-wide campaign demanding all government-aided schools receive grants irrespective of the language they teach in, and the right of parents to choose which language their child studied in.

As a result, state government grant-assisted schools could choose English or a regional language as their MOI, provided that they included Konkani or Marathi as a subject from Grade I. Overnight, 135 church-run schools reverted to English medium.

In July 2015 Force launched a fresh campaign to formalise the current MOI policy into law, fearing that the Goa government might change its policy on a whim or under pressure.

Force convener Savio Lopes went on hunger strike. Hundreds of parents from around Goa congregated to support him in daily largely peaceful demonstrations (pictured), with police keeping a watchful eye. On day five parents blocked roads across Goa in the morning rush hour. Thousands of commuters were stuck in traffic jams. No violence was reported.

Three days later, ministers and Goa assembly members met Savio Lopes to give a written assurance that the MOI policy would come before the next winter session of the state assembly. Force has called off its agitation until December.

Anti-English protesters took to the streets with a rally a few days later, condemning the Goa government for ‘giving in’. They have promised that they will continue to fight for regional languages remaining the MOI.

From 2016 all graduates in Australia will have to sit a literacy and numeracy test in order to qualify as secondary or primary teachers, writes Angela Snelgrove. The test is one of many recommendations made by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) after the national government asked for more rigorous assessment and training of pre-service teachers. 

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