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August 10th, 2010

Africa – Asia – Middle East news roundup


Time for a look at the magical world of TEFL in Rwanda, Egypt, Bahrain, the UAE and Pakistan.

Rwandan teachers back at school to help country’s anglophone ambitions

Although French now ranks as an official language alongside Kinyarwanda and English, the Rwandan government is switching the country’s education system away from French to English. Hence the need for English language courses for primary school teachers, according to the Irish Times. Officially, the change is aimed at integrating the once francophone nation into the five-nation English-speaking East African Community, which launched on July 7th. However, the decision is regarded as just another move in repositioning the country away from France, regarded by many in the country as an unhelpful influence in recent decades.

Read the full article here.

UK celebrates graduation of first English language students from Al Azhar university

The first cohort of students graduated from the British Council’s English language training centre at Al Azhar University, having gained the language skills to debate about religion and the role of Islam on a global scale. The 68 graduating students from the Faculty of Islamic Studies have been following a three-year English language course at the centre which is supported by the British Embassy and aims to ensure they have the language skills to engage in international faith-based dialogue and thus breakdown the misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding Islam.

Read on…

Awards plan for English teachers in Bahrain

Gulf Daily News notes how English language teachers in Bahrain and the Arabic-speaking world are being urged to enter a British awards scheme. The British Council ELTons is an international award scheme aimed at celebrating excellence in English language teaching (ELT) around the world. The scheme, now in its ninth year, is run by the British Council and sponsored by University of Cambridge ESOL (English Speakers of Other Languages).

Read more…

Has English become Globish or is this gibberish?

The consummate imperialist Cecil Rhodes once quipped that to be born an Englishman “is to have won first prize in the lottery of life”. While the empire has long gone, claims The National, its language imperiously straddles the globe. Indeed, no other language in any period of history has ever come close to being so fully a medium for global communication. In the wake of the British empire, and even in the ostensible twilight of American hegemony, English remains the most international language.

Read the full story.

Deaf children are being heard in Africa

Julie Solberg founded the Child Africa International School in Kabale, Uganda, in 2007 with the aim of integrating deaf children into a regular primary school. SMS text messaging on cellphones has broken the sound barrier that blocked deaf children from communicating with their hearing peers. Deaf children are no longer ostracized from sign-language-illiterate pupils and teachers, and this has given them more confidence.

Read on…

Pakistan struggles to reverse falling university language skills

As Pakistan renews a teacher training project to restore dwindling English language ability among students, some fear that the linguistic key to global academia is already lost.

Read the full story here.

Expats in UAE learn to ‘mind’ their language

Idioms often prove to be stumbling blocks for those learning the language as well as other aspects such as homonyms (words pronounced and spelled in the same way but with a different meaning), grammatical quirks and silent letters. Keticia Danish, corporate training coordinator and English teacher at the Eton Institute, Knowledge Village, told Gulf News what her students find most difficult when mastering the global tongue.

Read more about the story…

Sacrificing vacations to learn English

Seated in a dusty and crowded classroom in the sweltering heat, eleven-year-old Kanwal Sultan and her classmates eagerly listen to the English language lessons. “I am ready to sacrifice my summer vacations by coming to the school twice a week to learn the language. I am happy to feel that I would soon be able to speak English fluently, and also comprehend the language,” she beamed.

Read on…

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