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Clay Gilliland LAOS

The Ministry of Education and Sport of the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos has signed a deal for a 33 billion kip (£3.3 million) investment in English language teaching by the English Language Institute/China (ELIC).

Los Angeles pic courtesy Rod Ramsey

A vocational schools operator in Los Angeles has pleaded guilty to charges of visa fraud as part of a plea bargain after a Homeland Security investigation dating back to 2011. The probe uncovered a multimillion dollar ‘pay-to-stay’ student visa scam in which international students came to the US on study visas but ‘never studied’.

Nick Page ing story

English is slowly becoming more progressive. We’re noticing we’re using the progressive form, or ‘-ing’ form, a lot more, compared to the ‘to’ form. While language change used to be imperceptibly subtle, now we can witness it slowly unfolding, thanks to huge corpora like Brigham Young University’s News On the Web, believed to be the world’s biggest, with 2.8 billion words. According to Mentalfloss website, corpora analysis is revealing a steady increase in the ‘-ing’ form compared to ‘to’.

Hundreds have been arrested with at least two killed – apparently at the hands of security forces – during protests by anglophones. Lawyers, teachers and students are on strike over the ‘marginalisation’ of English-speakers in the officially bilingual (French and English) west African nation of Cameroon. The protests, rallies and demonstrations throughout the last three months of 2016 have escalated into calls for ‘federalism’ or even independence for Cameroon’s majority English-language-using Northwest and Southwest regions.

Coat of arms of Kosovo.svg

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’.

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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.

Ministry of education and science of russia emblem

Russia’s new education minister Olga Vasilyeva has called a halt to programme of mergers of the country’s higher education institutions. The mergers are part of the Federation’s 60.5 billion rouble (£764 million) Project 5-100 to get five universities into the THE World University Rankings and the QS ranking by 2020.


The southern African nation of Namibia has asked schools if they need teachers from Nigeria, ‘especially in English, mathematics and science’, and also recruiting ‘volunteers’ from Zimbabwe. New Era newspaper revealed a leaked email telling schools they were ‘urgently requested to indicate whether there is a need for … teachers’ provided via the Nigerian Technical Assistance Cooperation.


Egypt’s new academic year began without any Qatari or Saudi postgraduate students. Both these Gulf states have ‘limited’ their flows of scholarship students to Egypt, according to Al Fanar news agency. Qatar has even de-recognised Egyptian degrees obtained by its nationals, while the Saudi Education Ministry in August removed all Egyptian institutions from its list of approved universities. Al Fanar cited a Saudi embassy source as saying ‘the increasing numbers of forged master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Egypt’ prompted the Kingdom’s decision.


Around a third of defectors who’ve escaped from North Korean to start a new life in South Korea and then go on to university say they are considering taking time out from university, or even dropping out. Some of these assimilating defectors, surveyed by the Korea Development Institute, were struggling with English to the point that they wanted to take a break from university to improve their English as they ‘cannot keep up with course content.’

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