Sun.Star Cebu <> Thursday, July 9, 2009
BY NANCY R. CUDIS, Sun.Star Staff Reporter
IN a bid to make Cebu an international hub for English language learning, private and public stakeholders will develop and implement a “road map” to bolster the interest of potential international students to learn English in Cebu.
The road map, which is part of the Cebu Hub of English Language Excellence Project, will bring together individuals and key people from the Provincial Government, local government units, the academe and government agencies like the Department of Tourism and Department of Education. In a meeting next month, they will identify Cebu’s strengths and discuss issues hounding the English learning and teaching sector.
“There is a (global) shift now; more and more international students (turn) to speakers of English as a second language, like the Filipinos, for English training (instead of hiring) Americans, Canadians, and other nationalities who primarily speak English,” said Paul Robertson, Asian EFL (English as a Foreign Language) Journal chief executive officer.
One factor for this shift, he said, is the huge influx of Korean tourists in the Philippines. He added that these tourists come to the country to immerse in “long and intense” training on English.
But he observed that the Philippines, particularly Cebu, is not yet ready for the “sudden, massive” demand for Filipino ESL (English as a second language) or Tesol (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) teachers due to the lack of organization and regulation in the industry, as well as the shortage of affordable teachers’ training courses in ESL or Tesol.
“If we don’t start the project now, other countries will do it, like India and China,” warned Robertson.
The road mapping for the project will consider the best practices of the Cebu Educational Development Foundation for Information Technology (Cedf-it) in organizing the IT players in Cebu sd Cebu positions itself to be an IT hub.
Once Cebu has established itself as a global hub for English learning, Robertson said it would be easy for local stakeholders to get more international students from the Middle East, Japan, China, and Taiwan.
“Cebu should not concentrate its English learning and teaching facilities on Korean students but also on other nationalities, especially the Chinese,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
Robertson said he will propose during the meeting with local stakeholders the possibility of attracting more foreign investors to consider Cebu as a potential area for ESL schools that can be operated by local staff and teachers.
“They can even make their schools exclusive for the people of their countries. With more investors putting up more schools for ESL, more schools would also be specializing in specific areas such as business English and tourism English to attract students,” Robertson said.
Several potential investors, he said, are coming to Cebu on Aug. 8 to attend the Cebu International Tesol Conference at Diplomat Hotel, Cebu City.
About 300 persons, including English teachers and educators-to-be, are expected to attend the conference that is organized by the Tesol Philippines, Asian EFL Group, and Time Taylor International Ltd.
Asian EFL Journal is an academic second language acquisition research journal and business entity under Time Taylor, an Australian company registered in Korea.