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Making English an Official Language

The sun set on the British Empire long ago, but the shadow of the English language lingers. In many
a newly independent country, that heritage run into resistance; having command of English was seen
as being under the sway of foreign influences. Now, though, the bane has turned into a gain, giving
an edge to those able to use the language of global communication in computers, finance, and
tourism as well as academe.

In plain English, knowing English can be the key to top jobs and big money, not to mention foreign
investment Among educators and officials in some parts of the world, that renews a dilemma.
Promoting English in schools, sometimes at the expense of local languages, confronts a host of
cultural values.

Despite that, as one of the efforts to globalize this country, Korean officials decided to teach in
elementary school. People seem to think English training in elementary school is more effective. That
might be true. But our children study English 3 to 10 years already. So an additional two or three
years of English wouldn't make any difference. Our lagging behind in English comes from systemic
problems. For example our English curriculum focuses on grammar and reading comprehension.
Many teachers are not qualified in teaching in English teaching. It is wiser to upgrade the current
English teaching system by pouring more money into it. For example, we should develop more
effective way of teaching, better textbooks, and more scientific instruments. Ten years of English
learning should be enough if children are taught scientifically.

Source: What Do You Think 2

Comprehension Check
1. What happened to English of the newly independent countries?
2. Why are some educators and officials in a dilemma?

Let's Talk!
1. Do you think English is one of the key factors in our country's development?
2. What do you think are the reasons why Koreans are still lagging in English
3. What do you think about making English an official language in your country?
4. Ordinary Korean people are weak in both spoken and written English. Do you
think it's a good idea to make these subjects compulsory in college entrance
5. Do you agree with the government's plan to teach English in elementary school? Do you
think it will bring the intended results or that it will backfire?