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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’

brexit cartoon
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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EL Middle East 2017 : Long-Distance Libya

International Committee of the Red Cross Libya
Yvonne Fraser on how English is being delivered by remote teaching techniques at a time of national crisis

The ongoing conflict and general instability have of course changed many things about life here in Libya. And from a British Council perspective, at least, one of the most pertinent effects has been the lack of a stable Ministry of Education over the past few years – our usual partner for work on education reform. For that reason – and given the difficulties and expense associated with teachers or students travelling to training centres outside Libya – we knew that if we were to continue delivering training and courses to the Libyan people we would need to build on existing relationships, as well as develop new partnerships with universities and seats of learning across the country.

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EL Middle East 2017 : BC backs Saudi women’s workplace advancement

Peter Dowley Riyahd Saudi Arabia

Kerry Malster writes

The British Council has been teaching English in Saudi Arabia for over four decades, operating from dedicated male and female teaching centres in three separate locations: Riyadh, Al Khobar and Jeddah. Before coming to Saudi Arabia I worked in corporate training for many years, mainly in the UK but eventually moving extensively across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region and then around the world. I arrived in Saudi Arabia to manage the women’s centre in Riyadh before moving on to lead operations at the Jeddah centre.

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