I was glad this morning to hear David Cameron speaking about teaching English to those who were raised without any.
Lacking the basic skills to be able to comprehend the language of the country you live in leaves women very vulnerable.
When in the seventies the first immigrants from Pakistan arrived in the bleak northern towns special schools were set up to get the children to a minimum standard of English.
I taught in one of them and it soon became obvious that teaching the girls was very different from teaching the boys.
They were mostly from rural areas and had never been to school before. Some families tried to keep their girls at home even then but the law was adamant....they all had to come to school.
We made up the rules as we went along. The girls arrived with covered heads and barely took part in any lessons.
We worked hard to integrate them into classes but it proved hard work at times.
Our head wanted the girls to be taught hygiene after it became obvious that it was very necessary.
I was the dedicated teacher! I had classes with just the girls and they behaved very differently in small female groups than in the larger mixed ones. There was a lot of giggling to start with but they were quick to learn and I covered a lot of ground...
Today the news that some Asian women have little or no English is shocking...they need to be taught obviously but setting up the right class for them is going to be fraught with difficulty..
Education , free in schools is for westerners a basic human right. It's time to give these women access to the language of the country they are living in.
Our prime minister refused to be drawn on the consequences of not having basic English and this is a tricky one but mostly I think they will actually want to learn after an initial trial period...
Having enough English to get by on gives freedom from all sorts of things...long may it be so!
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