Schools in the Bournemouth area that specialise in offering English classes to non-UK born residents have praised fresh funding, announced by the Prime Minister yesterday.
The government are dedicating £20,000,000 to put towards improving access to English classes for migrants with poor language skills.
Prime Minister, David Cameron, said it would mainly focus on tackling the isolation of Muslim women within society, as new figures show 22% of them speak little or no English.
Elisabeth Obagiu, from Cavendish School in Bournemouth, said: “With the number of immigrants in Bournemouth, learning the language is essential for them to integrate in society.”
She added that, if unable to conduct basic communication in English, people would end up being “cut off from reality”.
George Kurdy, who used to own a barber’s shop in Charminster, used to attend English classes a year ago to improve his skills.
“I need to speak good English and to be able to write a letter or an email. I ran a business and I couldn’t write a proper email to a company in case I needed to,” he said, explaining why he chose to take the lessons.
But Mr Kurdy also stressed there should be classes that cater for those who have been in the country for years and have a relatively good spoken level of English, but poor writing and grammar skills.
The PM said the new policy aimed to counter Muslim women being drawn to extremism, despite admitting there was no “casual connection” between insufficient language skills and extremism.
He told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday: “But if you’re not able to speak English, you’re not able to integrate, you may find, therefore, that you have challenges understanding what your identity is and you could be more susceptible to the extremist message that comes from Daesh.”
Rosalie Buchanan of the International Care Network in Bournemouth said: “In many of the cultures we are working with men do the outside stuff and women live in the home, look after the children most of the time, so they don’t really have opportunities to get out and get learning.”
The government’s move was followed by the launch of a government website that gives advice to parents and teachers on preventing the radicalisation of pupils.
New rules, expected to come into force in October, will require people coming to the UK on a spousal visa to take a test in English after two and a half years.
One’s lack of effort to improve their language skills could have a negative effect on extending their visa and their right to settle in the UK.
Here’s some facts on the debate at hand: