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With demand for qualified teachers outstripping supply across East Asia, Duncan Verry explains why accreditation is key to raising standards

As education inspection systems worldwide strive for the improvement of educational practices to raise student outcomes – and no doubt secure bragging rights over fellow education ministers with an elevated position in the OECD Pisa rankings – it is interesting to look around the world and evaluate what impact this trend has had on language centres, if any. Unesco identifies a ‘hard governance’ and ‘soft governance’ approach to education accreditation. Hard governance is the setting of performance targets and use of data and indicators to foster competition and improvement. The soft governance approach relies on self-evaluation and creating networks for best-practice learning.

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Deserts, Ski Resorts And Oil: A Tefler’s Guide To Kazakhstan

Astana

Olga Kravchenko looks at opportunities for English teachers in the Central Asian nation

Kazakhstan is the largest country in Central Asia and the ninth-largest country in the world, with vast steppes and immense deserts covering two time zones. The hardest part of any teaching assignment in Kazakhstan may actually be getting there. Kazakhstan is isolated geographically. If you’re offered a flight as part of a job package, insist on an international airline or national carrier Air Astana. According to UK Foreign Office advice, other Kazakh airlines have such dodgy safety records they aren’t even allowed to land in the EU. Travellers living and working in Kazakhstan report a warm and kind-hearted population. Its people tend to be well-read and politically conscious, while the country itself has large oil and gas reserves, which make it the richest country in Central Asia. Currently there is a high demand for EFL teachers in Kazakhstan. The government invests heavily in language schools and courses in an effort to change the local business language from Russian to English.

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EL Middle East 2017: From Mountains To Medinas

Pasquale Paolo Cardo Rabat Mausolée des rois Hassan II et Mohammed V
British Council Morocco’s Paul Harvey explains what has kept him in the country for eleven years, and what the future looks like for ELT

Kasbahs, ancient cities, labyrinthine medinas, Roman ruins, deserts, mountains and very, very long coastlines – Morocco really does have all these things and … there are also two British Council centres. One is in Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city, and the other is in Rabat, the capital and an hour and a half north, both on the Atlantic coast. Casablanca is Morocco’s business hub, but Rabat has the feeling of a large town rather than a metropolis. I have been working at the British Council, Rabat for eleven years, initially as a full-time network teacher and now as a freelance member of staff.

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EL Middle East 2017: Saudis struggle with flagship programme

Riyadh Saudi Arabia sören2013
Jefferson Youth investigates why so many Colleges of Excellence in Saudi Arabia, run by foreign training providers, are now closing

It’s no secret that the English-medium technical, vocational, education and training sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has been struggling with its flagship Colleges of Excellence programme, with many of the problems arising because Western partners failed to anticipate the specific challenges of teaching in the country. The Technical, Vocational, Education & Training Corporation – a provider under the supervision of the Ministry of Labour – runs technical colleges in the KSA and owns a 40 per cent stake in the Colleges of Excellence (CoE) colleges network. The CoE was set up by the Saudis in 2014 to provide the local economy with skilled Saudi technicians, thereby decreasing its over-reliance on nine million expats. Since then the programme has been beset with financial problems, low enrolment and management issues. With 37 colleges run by heavyweights from, among others, Germany (GIZ IS and FESTO), the USA (Laureate International and Interlink) and the UK (Lincoln Colleges International, TQ Pearson and many others), unconfirmed reports on social media suggest this programme, worth £1 billion to the British economy alone, may be scrapped in 2017. So what went wrong?

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ELT Prejudice And The Politics Of ‘Passportism’

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Melanie Butler explains how teachers face discrimination on many levels

Keep politics out of English language teaching? This was the plea of one native speaker teacher faced with a blistering polemic from Wiktor Kostrzewski in a piece on the Tefl Equity website, a forum which supports equal rights of non-native speakers of English. Kostrzewski’s blast starts with the premise that neither British English nor American English can any longer serve as a ‘reasonable model of English language use’ given the racism and the lies so evident in campaigns for Brexit and the election of Donald J Trump. Of course, the objection is that, if the ability to teach English is limited to the level of racism and lies in your national political discourse, the number of people able to teach English, or any other language, would be limited to, perhaps, the Canadians, the Irish and the odd Scandinavians.

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