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Global English Learning

English is increasingly the world's language. The demand for English language education is growing strongly, with global learners expected to peak at around two billion in the next ten years.

Countries all over the world are implementing mass education programs to enhance the English language skills of their people. These include Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Poland, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Chile. These proactive government policies are linked to future prosperity, economic success, and individual achievement.

The latest international research conducted in Malaysia, Iran, Lebanon, Oman, Malaysia, and China has revealed some critical insights about the importance of learning English. Mastery of the English language is seen as being "a key to open doors", a "bridge between people and cultures", "a way to solve problems", and a path towards "mutual understanding". New research in the USA shows Hispanic students are falling way behind their schoolmates in English language competency. English is Fun would be a valuable viewing choice for Hispanic families with young children.

Pakistan has an ambition to widen access to English language learning. The success of this key government strategy has been marred by poor access to effective learning materials. English language skills are a pre-requisite for access to higher education or a position in the civil service in Pakistan.

The Chilean government introduced the English Opens Doors program in 2004 with an investment of $10million a year. Director of the program, Ms Isabel Gonzales, explains the link between English language learning and future prosperity: "English is imperative to Chile in terms of business investment. Raising the level of English in schools will ultimately lead to a higher-quality workforce which will, in turn, attract foreign investment and increase economic development". This initiative has the support of the United Nations Development Program but many schools do not have the resources or trained personnel to implement the policy.

Government policy in Georgia (previously part of the Soviet Union) says that every child aged between 5 and 16 should learn English. Georgian schools teach English as a compulsory second language; Russian is now optional. In 2010, the Georgian government employed an additional one thousand native English speakers as teaching assistants. The policy aims to place one native English teacher in every school. Education Minister Dmitry Shashkin says the English language program is part of the government's strategy to enhance "the intellectual potential of our country".

The Polish Government is also keen to improve the English language skills of its citizens. A recent study showed that children at rural schools in Poland have far poorer English competency than their city counterparts. A key factor is the lack of resources and support for English language teachers in rural areas.

English recently became a compulsory subject in Japanese schools; it has been compulsory in schools in South Korea since 1997 and China since 2005. In many countries, including Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and South Korea, parents spend big money on extra-curricular English language education for their children. The enormous market penetration of these companies shows the level of parental interest in English language learning. This is literally a billion-dollar business. Japan's private language schools turn-over 110 billion yen (US $1.2 billion) annually from fees and book sales. Over 20 percent Japan's five-year olds are enrolled in private English conversation classes; this instruction begins at just two years of age. These pre-schoolers, and their families, are the perfect audience for English is Fun.

Across the world, there is a massive unmet demand for English language education. In many places schools do not have the appropriate staff and resources and many parents do not have the money or opportunity to access private tuition. In every one of these situations, English is Fun would be a valuable addition to your pre-school programming.

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