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Title: Hold your courses: Language education, language choice, and economic development
Authors: Bruthiaux, P. 
Issue Date: 2002
Citation: Bruthiaux, P. (2002). Hold your courses: Language education, language choice, and economic development. TESOL Quarterly 36 (3) : 275-296. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This article argues that discussion of the role of English in development fails to recognize the success of narrowly focused community-based projects, in which basic L1 literacy rather than English education is the goal. The argument centers on analysis of economic realities of the informal economy, in which absence of clear title to tangible assets in low-income countries prevents the entrepreneurial poor from using these assets as collateral and acts as a brake on economic development. I show how microlending offers an effective route around this problem and argue that literacy is essential in transforming the poor's perception of their own economic potential. I also argue that, because literacy should encourage a sense of greater empowerment on the part of recipients, its acquisition should occur in a local vernacular as opposed to a potentially unfamiliar language of wider communication. Finally, I suggest that unsubstantiated faith in the supposed benefits of English language education for all may divert precious resources from urgent language education for development tasks and ultimately benefit mostly the relatively well-off at the expense of the poorest.
Source Title: TESOL Quarterly
ISSN: 00398322
DOI: 10.2307/3588414
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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