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Original Message
Forum Muslim Children 
Topic Bilingual Education 
Author Iftikhar 
Date Created 27/01/2004 20:29:52 
Message Established 1981
London School of Islamics
An Educational Trust
63 Margery Park Road London E7 9LD
Email: info@londonschoolofislamics.org.uk
Tel/Fax: 0208 555 2733 / 07817 112 667

Bilingual Education

Bilingual projects in schools will receive Government funding to boost learning of children who are not native Britis. Twenty-one LEAs are chosen to take part in the bilingual pilot schemes. Newham and Tower hamlets with highest number of bilingual children are going to be targeted seriously to raise the standard of education because they are at the bottom of the educational league table.

Bilingual education should have been the part and parcel of British education system 50 years ago when bilingual children started attending state schools but neither LEAs nor native teachers recognize bilingualism. This can have a very negative effect on their cognitive, emotional and social development. Muslim children suffer more than others. Supporters of bilingual teaching have long argued that it has wide benefits such as improving skills in dealing with people from other cultures. When pupils have to conceptualise and grasp issues in a foreign language as well as in their mother tongue, it will help develop an ability to understand complex and multifactual relationships between various themes.

According to recent figures, the highest number of Pakistani pupils is in primary schools. They come to schools with multiple languages. They are forced to learn English while their mother tongues are ignored. In my opinion teaching English is cultural imperialism in action. In the evening and at weekend they attend Masajid where they are exposed to Arabic and Urdu languages. By the time they are seven they will be forced to learn one of the European languages. On the other hand native children come to schools where they find positive co-relation between school and home. By the time they are seven, will be exposed to the teaching of a European language while Muslim pupils right from Nursery level are bombarded with variety of different languages. They become jack of languages but master of none and there is a possibility that a minority develops negative attitudes towards languages.

Bilingual education is not going to help Muslim children to raise their standard of education because native teachers are not suitable and the management of LEAs is in the hands of those who not fit for such adventures. Diversity is not a problem but rather strength. Specialist schools, city academies and extra funding are not going to help Muslim children. Master classes for most gifted pupils have failed to ensure enough pupils from minority groups. Millions of pounds spent on booster classes for 11-years-old have made little difference to primary standard. Numerous Whitehall initiatives had failed to tackle growing inequalities. Schools in some of the most deprived urban areas of England are still struggling to raise standards despite billions of pounds of extra government funding. Inner cities secondaries are falling even further behind affluent schools in the suburbs. Achievement in deprived areas has not risen sufficiently in the past decade.

According to Tim Bridghouse, state education in London is in crises. The reason is that the needs and demands of the bilingual pupils have always been neglected. The number of Newham pupils permanently excluded from their schools for unacceptable behavior increased again in the last academic year. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry identified institutional racism as a major factor disadvantaging minority ethnic groups. One of the deepest expressions of institutional racism affecting immigrant communities, and one that has been long documented, is he unequal treatment of their children by the education system. They are motivated, but knocked back by their experiences of the school system. They are often treated more harshly and viewed with lower teachers expectations on the basis of teachersí assumptions about their motivation and ability. Liz Brooker of Institute of Education found evidence of institutional racism from the day children started schools. State schools are unable to cater for the emotional, social and spiritual development of Muslim children. Parents can withdraw their children from assembly but only a small minority does in the culturally mixed London Borough of Newham; only five children are exempted in 2001-2002.

The silent majority of Muslim community has been engaged in setting up Muslim schools with Muslim teachers as role models. Now there are more than 120 schools and more are in the pipeline, four of them are state funded while others have to charge fees. The waiting lists are lengthy. There are thousands of parents who canít afford to pay but they would like their children to attend Muslim schools. There should be an alternative and British Government should be thinking seriously about introducing Voucher System so that parents can choose where to send their children. DFES and LEAs should provide financial help to set up schools.
Iftikhar Ahmad
Topic Re: Bilingual Education 
Author guest 
Date Created 09/02/2004 06:27:04 
Message Not sure about the previous response, but "In my opinion teaching English is cultural imperialism in action" . I CANNOT believe you said that, they are children born in this country and are therefore British citizens, they have the right to an education, and be taught in English, this is the language of this country is it not? 
Topic Re: Bilingual Education 
Author Guest 
Date Created 24/07/2006 15:48:43 
Message I am the son of a non-english speaking immigrant who before coming to the UK fought a war of independance against the british. He came here to avoid being conscripted onto one side or the other in an ensueing civil war. His children have been brought up as english, speak english and I mtself have now served in HM Forces for 24 years. I and my brother and sister are english, in culture and outlook. Our father was extremely proud of all of us and what we have achieved, he faced no hostility from his home country because of his choices and how he raised his children. We have very few relatives within the UK; most are still in my fathers home country. Why is it wrong that a large majority of UK nationals expect minorities to do nothing more than my father did? He gave up his culture but educated his children in one that is rich and open to all. Relish the chance it is an opportunity that is rarely available elswhere. 
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