Claudia Civinini writes
Students in the Republic of San Marino – a micro-state with 32,000 residents surrounded by central Italy – are protesting after being excluded from subsidised First Certificate of English (FCE) preparation courses, according to local press reports.
Demand for these courses far exceeds the limited number available for secondary school students.
Matt Salusbury writes
Electronics giant Panasonic has produced a megaphone that can translate Japanese phrases into English – as well as Chinese and Korean. The megahonyaku brand megaphone is currently on trial with train operators and police in Tokyo in response to an increase in foreign visitors and in preparation for an even bigger influx expected for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with all the crowd control issues that come with it.
Increasing rates of English proficiency in ‘south eastern Europe’ (SEE, the Balkans) are a factor contributing to the rise of that region as a ‘near-shoring’ destination for outsourcing sources that is starting to rival India.
According to The Daily Briefing, fluency in English – and German – among an increasing proportion of the workforce is driving the rise, as well as a convenient time zone, ‘closer cultural similarities, lower travel costs and a high number of qualified IT professionals’.
UK home secretary Amber Rudd’s pledge to reduce the flow of international students was dealt a blow in late October, following a little-reported court ruling, Matt Salusbury writes. Responding to reports of ‘invalid’ results in the Toeic English test, the Home Office in 2014 deported an estimated 48,000 non-EU international students who had taken the exam.