There is a growing demand across Africa to learn and to use English. Knowledge of English is seen to be good for the economy and good for individuals. Perhaps the most common reason for wanting to learn English, however, is that it is widely regarded as an essential element of a good education. In some countries in East Africa, English is the language of instruction, particularly at secondary and post-secondary levels. If teaching is to be effective and learning is to be maximised, it is clear that teachers must have a level of proficiency that is consistent with the level at which they are teaching. Similarly, pupils and students need to have reached a level of proficiency that enables them to learn effectively, and express themselves well whether in writing or in speech.
We have a long history of responding to the demand for English training – but we also recognise that in the first few years of schooling, mother tongue teaching is in most cases the most effective way to build strong foundations for future learning. From this perspective the challenge is to make a smooth transition to English as the medium of instruction.
We have been providing English language training for many years, in diverse settings and for a wide range of learners. Whether it is English language training for primary school teachers or for the staff of other organisations helping to provide education for refugees or displaced communities, our aim is the same – to ensure high quality teaching and learning.
“I have confidence that I can now teach English.” (Participant, English Language Training course, Yei, 2015)