Poor ESOL skills of people from overseas living in the UK

In a recent interview with Boris Johnson by Leon Siciliano, and PA, video source ITN 06 Jan 2015, Johnson gives his views on the poor ESOL skills (English for Speakers of Other Languages) demonstrated by people from overseas resident in the UK in general.  He comments on the lack of English speaking skills in the NHS saying that it is vital that people who work there should have a least a basic command of English.  Additionally he says of Tower Hamlets in London,  “…….. you can find people who have been there for several generations who still don’t speak English.”

This is certainly true not only of London, but in the provinces as well where, although there is the local facility for learning English, for example Adult Education Centres and indeed ourselves at Connect to English, ESOL classes are very poorly attended and sometimes don’t run due to lack of interest.  Johson goes on to say, talking about people from overseas who don’t get themselves educated in English, “I think it’s a shame for them……”. By this he infers that by not learning some basic English skills, people are missing out on the wider opportunites open to them and the confidence being conversant in the language of the country they are living in would bring.  Johnson ends by advising people to find out their local facilities for ESOL and enrol.

It would certainly, both for the sake of teaching centres and for foreign people without any English, be a positive step forward, and ultimately of great benefit for the United Kingdom as we get a more integrated and educated society as a result. Read the interview and listen by clicking on the link below:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/nhs/11327504/Boris-Johnson-Public-sector-workers-must-be-able-to-speak-English.html