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News in brief

BELARUS: Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the presidential candidate in the recent Belarusian election who was forced to flee to Lithuania, is a former English teacher. As a child, Tikhanovskaya, who gave interviews to the BBC in English, spent summers in County Tipperary, Ireland, with the “Chernobyl children” programme.

JAPAN: Forty members of the Tozen Union Shane Workers branch, were on strike at the end of July, according to the Union’s website. The teachers claim they were required to teach unpaid “make- up classes” to cover hours cancelled during the Covid-19 crisis, or work normal contracted hours on half pay.

CANADA: Schools association Languages Canada has asked the federal government for a “Study Safe Corridor” to allow students pre- screened for Covid-19 to arrive from Brazil, Turkey, South Korea and Japan. The package includes a 14-day isolation period before the course, and is based on the plan already approved for National Hockey League players.

FIJI: The US ambassador to the Pacific nation, Joseph Cella, launched the English Access Micro- scholarship Programme in July. The first such programme in the Pacific, it provides $70,328 Fijian (£24,526) to fund courses for 24 teenagers in Wakanisila settlement. The socially- distanced course is being delivered by local NGO VisionFiji.

THAILAND: The Secretary General of Thailand’s Private Education Commission, Attapon Truektrong, assured the public that the 3,000 foreign English teachers who had been registered to enter Thailand by air via the Philippines will be “thoroughly screened” on arrival for coronavirus. The teachers are either returning expatriates or newly recruited foreign teachers.

INDIA: The policy of the state of Rajasthan to convert one Hindi or Rajasthani-language school in every district to English-medium has encountered opposition in the remote village of Khairabad, which would lose its girls’ school. Much of its population is made up of low caste “untouchables” or “tribals” (aboriginal ethnic minorities).

Image courtesy of Library
Matt Salusbury
Matt Salusbury
MATT SALUSBURY, news editor and journalist, has worked for EL Gazette since 2007. He is also joint Chair of the London Freelance Branch of the National Union of Journalists and co-edits its newsletter, the Freelance. He taught English language for 15 years in the Netherlands, in Turkey, in a North London further education college and now as an English for Academic Purposes tutor, most recently at the London School of Economics. He is a native English speaker and is also fluent in Dutch.
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