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Ministers launch Adult ESOL strategy

Ministers launch Adult ESOL strategy

A strategy aimed at improving opportunities for non-English speaking New Zealanders to gain English language skills, was announced by education ministers this evening.

Associate Education Ministers Lianne Dalziel and Marian Hobbs, marked the occasion by launching the Adult ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Strategy at a special function at Parliament.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard joined his associates in announcing that $6.986 million to fund the Strategy over the next four years has been allowed for in this year’s budget.

“There is a growing demand for language learning opportunities for New Zealanders who do not speak English as their primary language. Census figures tell us that around 50,000 adults living in New Zealand do not speak English. It is estimated that another 200,000 adults from non-English speaking backgrounds, have less than adequate levels of English language and literacy,” Trevor Mallard said.

Lianne Dalziel, who spearheaded the development of the strategy, said that it had involved extensive consultation with adult ESOL providers and refugee and migrant communities. In her role as Immigration Minister, Lianne Dalziel said the strategy was a vital foundation for ensuring that migrants settle and refugees resettle, well in New Zealand.

“Welcoming communities are integral to the success of migrants and refugees. It is also acknowledged that English language is essential for participation in New Zealand society. Adult ESOL is therefore an integral part of the settlement and resettlement process for people from non-English speaking backgrounds.

“That is why the Adult ESOL Strategy is an important first step in ensuring that all migrants and refugees, who came from a non-English speaking background and who come with insufficient English, acquire the English language skills they need to do well in New Zealand,” Lianne Dalziel said. “The strategy emphasises access and affordability. The initiatives to be funded through this year’s budget include:

provision of an extra 125 annual adult ESOL places for adult ESOL learners in the Training Opportunities targeted pool provision of an extra 125 annual adult ESOL places for tertiary education institution (TEI) courses targeted in areas of need. the Tertiary Education Commission contracting adult ESOL expertise in migrant and refugee centres

The initiatives will be rolled out from 1 July 2003.

Marian Hobbs, who has responsibility for Adult and Community Education, will take over the responsibility for the strategy’s implementation.

“The strategy provides for some important first steps, a starting point emphasising improved quality, capability and access, with the aim of expanding provision of adult ESOL in the longer term,” she said.

“I am determined to convert this strategy into action because it seeks to improve English language skills and literacy among New Zealanders who cannot communicate effectively in English. For many, this will be the beginning of the pathway into further education and skills development and training within the Adult and Community tertiary education sectors,” Marian Hobbs said.

To view the strategy online: http:// http://www.minedu.govt.nz/goto/adultesolstrategy

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