May have to pay up to £1,200 each
23rd February 2011: The funding cuts are apprehended to have far reaching consequences on immigrants learning to speak English in London colleges.
It is estimated nothing less than 40,000 adults will be compelled to give up lessons in spoken English in London colleges as money for the courses witness a cut from September.
The development assumes significance, as the courses are considered nothing less than lifeline for asylum seekers and immigrants.
As a result of the changes, the students may eventually find themselves paying up to £1,200 each, according to the Association of Colleges.
Director of education policy Joy Mercer believes the courses have proved to be a lifeline for many people, including those on low incomes, their spouses, asylum seekers and refugees.
As of now, the Government is funding the courses for people on inactive benefits, including income and housing support. Come September, and only those on "active benefits" such as jobseeker’s allowance will get full funding.
Mercer asserted this would have a considerably negative impact on the ability of new citizens to progress to employment.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills through a spokesman said the changes would not have a uneven impact on any particular group; and the employers along with the students should contribute towards costs when public funds are limited, he suggested.
The University and College Union and the National Association for Teaching English and Community Languages to Adults are campaigning against the changes.
“ESOL students are keen to learn the language and integrate into society. In order to do this they need programmes that enable them to do so.
Read ‘Help migrants learn English: support free ESOL courses ‘ to learn of their petition.