A national charity has called for increased investment in English language tuition for men and women from a wide range of ethnic and religious backgrounds.
QED Foundation welcomes David Cameron’s announcement of a £20m fund to help Muslim women in the UK but wants similar support to be available to all new arrivals who need it.
‘We agree with the prime minister that the ability to speak English is crucial if people are to successfully integrate into British society,’ says chief executive Dr Mohammed Ali OBE. ‘However, we also have first-hand experience of the difference our classes have made to recent arrivals from Nepal, China, Hong Kong, the Middle East, Africa and eastern Europe.
‘Mr Cameron is right to point out that some Pakistani and Bangladeshi women need support if they are to participate fully in British life. English language classes can help with this but much more can be done to enable them become active members of their communities.
‘Our experience is that many Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are segregated from wider society by institutional barriers such as labour market inequalities and real or perceived discrimination. This is a great waste of human potential but we do not believe that Mr Cameron is justified in believing that it leads to an increased risk of radicalisation.’
QED Foundation has been funded by the EU to run courses and campaigns in Yorkshire, London and Pakistan aimed at newly arrived women settling legally in the UK. These have included learning English as a second language;
individual guidance and support; confidence building; learning about life in
Britain and its history and culture; and visits to employers to see the world of work at first hand.
The charity has helped 30,000 people from ethnic minority backgrounds through providing education and training. It has also pioneered measures enabling 1,000 women in Pakistan to gain life skills before leaving to join their husbands in the UK that have since been taken up elsewhere in the EU.
QED Foundation delivers training in partnership with 20 local community organisations led by ethnic minorities across the country, with a particularly strong presence in Yorkshire and London. It has been one of the key organisations campaigning for greater provision of English language training.
For more information contact Dr Mohammed Ali OBE on 0300 500 1000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.qed-uk.org
Note to editors: QED Foundation has been working to improve the social and economic position of disadvantaged communities in partnership with the private, public and voluntary sector for 25 years. Its main focus is to enable and support mainstream organisations to work more effectively with ethnic minority groups. It also works directly with communities, delivering education, training, employment and health services.