The Role of ESL Education for the Social and Economic Development in Global Contexts


English is the "Global language"which is widely used in international business, academics, politics, and technology in the world; therefore, English has been taught as first or second language in different countries in different regions. Wealthy countries, such as US, believe the more money invested in promoting English-as-second-language (ESL) education, the better the social and economic development of the developing and under-developed countries will have. As the economy in Asian-Pacific region has been growing, English is needed for the development of these countries for international affairs. The positive effect of ESL education on upward mobility is found in most Asian countries, such as China. Similarly, English plays an important role in language education, international business, and tourism in Latin America like Argentina (Porto, 2014). Meanwhile, professionals have to use English for technology, and the salaries of English-speaking workers have 25%-35% more than their non-English-speaking counterparts in European Union (Johnson, 2008). However, English-only instruction in the underdeveloped African countries benefits neither the cognitive development nor the socioeconomic development of primary and secondary students (Cooke & Williams, 2002). It is difficult to find any jobs as they are illiterate (L1) in the local settings for workers, whereas ninety percent of poor people work in informal sector where English is unused. This paper investigates whether the additive or detrimental effects of ESL education in socioeconomic development are due to imperialism (Phillipson, 1992), diversity or cultural difference. May the acceptance of "World Englishes" be the solution to the problem of English monolingualism in education? (250 words)

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Diana Po Lan Sham, Hong Kong Chinese Institute of Engineers LTD, Hong Kong

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Conference: ACEID2016

This paper is part of the ACEID2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon