Saturday, March 21, 2009

English as second language in UK

One in seven primary school pupils does not speak English as a first language. The number who normally speak a foreign language rose last year to 565,888 - 14.3 per cent of the total. In some areas, English is a foreign language to more than 70 per cent of four to 11-year-olds, putting enormous pressure on teaching staff. And there are ten schools without a single pupil who has English as a first language, new figures show. Teachers say large concentrations of children with a poor grasp of English can lead to some schools being unfairly condemned by inspectors.

Parliamentary questions have revealed that in 2004, 452,388 primary school children spoke English as a second language. By last year this figure had increased by 113,500, a rise of almost exactly 25 per cent. In secondary schools, the proportion of pupils who do not have English as their native language has increased from 8.8 per cent in 2004 to 10.6 per cent last year.

The soaring figures reflect the fact that immigration into the UK is now five times higher than when Labour came to power in 1997. Net immigration has increased from 48,000 that year to 237,000 in 2007. Shadow immigration minister Damian Green said the figures suggest that almost a million primary and secondary pupils now speak English as a second language.

He said: 'These shocking figures illustrate how difficult life is for many teachers because of the Government's long-term failure to control immigration. 'They show why we badly need an annual limit on immigration. 'Australia has a limit which it has just reduced because of the recession - Britain should be able to do the same thing. 'The number of pupils with English as a second language makes life difficult for teachers, parents and pupils. 'Whether or not they can speak English, everyone suffers when it's more difficult for teachers in the classroom. 'This is also a huge pressure on local authorities trying to cope with uncontrolled immigration.'

Remarks: One of the best example is Nelson Primary School In East London, faces daunting problems only a quarter native English speakers and the rest use 56 languages.

Lesson Learned For Our Malaysian Government/Teachers

1. The authority has to respect the research done by universities researchers/researches (if any), work out and published for public acknowledgment. There are a lot or something to be done. Don’t just hide under the carpet. The findings are not for universities/lecturers alone or academic purposes. The findings are to be shared. We must sincerely honest to ourselves.

In UK, the resources given are incredibly expensive, extra teaching staff, and interpreters. The public blames government only cares about targets and how can you get good results when a lot of valuable time is taken up with basic things. The UK government has suggested to increasing funding in the ethnic minority achievement grant to £206 million by 2010, to bring students weak in English up to speed.

2. In Malaysia, is very rare to read any good survey published in our newspapers to highlight any problems concerning our education and getting feedback or response from public or educators.

In UK, public can read any issues being published and make comments openly.

3. At the moment research is not a part of our culture. We don’t bother doing survey especially, affecting current issues, not only in education, social but also in our daily lives, economically and politically. The Grant is also very limited.

In UK, doing survey/research is their culture. Survey being reveal to public for further comments.

(Source: James Chapman Daily mail, English is a second language for one in seven school pupils on 18th March 2009)

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