UK: NIACE Response to ESOL and Community Cohesion Consultation
NIACE broadly welcomes the proposals set out in the consultation document Focusing English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) on Community Cohesion. NIACE supports its intent and the overarching approaches proposed.
Particularly welcome are the intention to prioritise access to state funded ESOL for the most excluded adults and the rediscovery of the importance of learning for wider social and community benefits. NIACE believes, however that a number of aspects of the paper need to be addressed in more detail or revised to ensure that the government is able to realise its intentions. Such matters include defining the concept of community cohesion and the role of ESOL in its promotion and the absence of recognition of the inter-relationship between learning for work and skills and learning for community and of the importance of work place provision in community cohesion. NIACE believes that everyone who comes to live in the UK should have a right to learn English as they need it to live, work and thrive however long they stay and however wealthy they are. There must be sufficient provision to allow them to do so. This inevitably raises the questions of who should pay; how much should be paid; and what type of provision is offered and by whom.