Country guide for EFL teachers
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"Teach and Learn with Georgia" is an innovative programme promoted by the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili. The purpose of this programme is to increase the level of English in Geogia by providing English teaching from the first year of Primary education and by giving each child of this age a free laptop produced by the US non-profit organisation "One Laptop Per Child".
The regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are at the moment outside the control of the government, will receive the free laptops as well, and the distribution will be made under "international control".
At the same time, the President of Georgia has encouraged local broadcasters to start TV English language courses and TV stations to screen English films with subtitles instead of dubbing.
In addition to this, the government plans this year to recruit 1,000 qualified native speakers of English in order to fill the teaching positions offered by this programme, but no further details were revealed on these recruitment plans.
Starting from January 2010, the government in Tbilisi started free English for work courses for the city's residents.
All these measures seem to shed light on how the government sees the imperative need for improving the English level of Georgian society.
These new rules have an impact on the UK EFL market and the private sector because they affect prospective young adult students from outside the EU. It would be imposible for such students to learn English in the UK for more than six months or any course below upper intermediate level, or studying any subject other than English at below the level of a first year degree. Taking into account that the majority of students coming from outside the EU arrive in the UK with a level below B1, it is clear that they will be the injured party.
Defending these measures, the Ministry of the Interior, Mr Alan Johnson stated that the purpose was "to tackle the abuse... by economic migrants whilst at the same time continuing to safeguard the ability of genuine international students to come to the UK.
According to the New York Times, this peculiar way of learning English is currently increasing in Japan.
Taking advantage of Barack Obama's popularity, Asashi Press had the original idea of releasing a CD featuring the US President's speeches. At the time of writing, half a million copies have been sold.
Other publishers have copied the scheme; with language learning titles such as "Learn English Grammar from Obama" or "Yes, I can with Obama" the success is guaranteed.
Obama's enthusiastic speeches, his eloquence and his clear pronounciation convinced many Japanese to start learning English with this method.
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