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January 2018

Global perspective - December / January


The Gazette editorial team’s selection of ELT news from around the world

BevelledDenmark 300pxDENMARK: Admissions to English-medium higher education programmes in Denmark have been cut by 28 per cent, and more restrictions are on the horizon, The Local Denmark reports. Soren Pind, minister of higher education and research, told the press that cuts were needed because too few international students remain in Denmark to work after graduation. ‘It’s a challenge for us, given that we spend so much money on our education system, that people don’t stay in Denmark and use their qualifications here,’ he said. According to figures from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, only one in five graduates from business academies and university colleges are working in Denmark two years after graduation. The minister is now looking into how many graduates from English-medium bachelors and masters programmes stay on. But campaigners say that the reason why graduates decide to leave Denmark is down to strict residency rules. A new regulation was passed in May this year increasing the waiting time for permanent residency to eight years.

BevelledUK 300pxUK: The UK ELT sector is finally in for some good news, with the industry registering its first growth since 2013, figures from English UK show. Members of the Quarterly Intelligence Cohort scheme reported 214,851 student weeks in summer 2017, compared with 183,203 in the same period in 2016. Junior weeks rose by 18 per cent and adult weeks 17 per cent.
English UK’s head of market development Jodie Gray says it may not all be down to the devaluation of the pound. ‘We believe members may be innovating more and taking advantage of destination promotion and better data to build a firm base for recovery, and we will continue to monitor this carefully,’ she said.
The top markets remain the same – with Italy in first place, followed by China, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Turkey.

BevelledMalaysia 300pxMALAYSIA: The majority of residents in the southern Malaysian state of Johor back the return of English-medium schools, a survey by Singaporean researchers has found. But Malay language activists told the Malaysian press the survey was flawed, and warned they will oppose efforts to replace Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of education. Conducted by the Yusof Ishak Institute of Malaysia, the survey found that 82 per cent of interviewees supported the reintroduction of English-medium schools in Johor. Activists of the Movement to Abolish the Teaching of Science and Maths in English said the sample did not have enough Malay respondents and that Singapore’s English-medium system was no example to follow. ‘They have many workers who are proficient in English, but what about their identity?’ a spokesperson asked The Malaysian Insight.

BevelledBangladesh 300pxBANGLADESH: The education ministry in Bangladesh is to increase scrutiny of English-medium schools in the country after one was closed amid allegations of involvement in militant activities, The Dhaka Tribune reports.
Sources have told the newspaper that the government will start collecting information on all schools run using foreign curricula.
Although all education institutions must get approval from the Education Ministry, sources said it has little information about them.
The move comes after allegations of involvement in militant activities against a number of foreign-run institutions.
‘We will also investigate whether these schools are being run in accordance with our cultural heritage,’ said Salma Jahan, joint secretary of the ministry of public administration.

jp draws US Flag 300px US: Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker has passed a bill that will give school districts more flexibility in how they teach English language learners (ELLs). The state still holds schools accountable for their legal obligations to teach ELLs ‘as rapidly as possible’, but lets school districts decide what best ‘research-based teaching method’ they want to use other than the existing approach of Sheltered English Immersion. Alternative programmes will have to be approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary education, must be research-based and include subject matter content and an English acquisition component, the new law says. ‘Allowing parents and local school districts the flexibility to choose the most effective programmes to cater to the specific needs of their students is not only good public policy but also what is best for our students to be successful,’ said Senate President Stan Rosenberg.
(See the feature A Radical Rethink)


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