Monday 18 January 2016

Journalists: are you asking Cameron about this?

from English for Action (London) 

"David Cameron has today connected Muslim women not learning English with terrorism. He has also suggested (again) that many migrants do not want to learn English. Our experience of teaching ESOL in London over the last ten years leads us to believe that both these statements are dangerous lies. Conflating language learning and terrorism does not have any basis in reality. According to ex-police superintendent Dal Babu the families of the children who went to Syria all spoke perfect English. 

To suggest that migrants should be forced to learn English implies that a) they don't want to and b) they could if they wanted to. Many colleges have over 1000 people on their waiting list for ESOL courses and can wait for up to 2 years. 

The same prime minister who is saying everyone must learn English if they want to stay in this country has cut ESOL classes by around 50% in the last five years. We know that if you provide ESOL classes, with trained, paid teachers supported by creches so women with children can attend, they are full. It is of course true that it is vital to learn the language of the country you live in. Of all the myriad benefits though, stopping terrorism is not one of them."