English is the international language of education, science, business, politics and culture. Accordingly, policymakers all around the world make the teaching and learning of English in their countries a priority. However, to improve the quality of English instruction, it is first necessary to make progress in the factors that affect the quality of English language teaching and learning.
School funding is a major determinant of the quality of English language teaching and learning. For example, many schools in Nigeria not only lack study materials, such as textbooks, dictionaries, workbooks and posters, but also do not have such essentials as electricity or adequate staff rooms and offices, and their buildings have leaking roofs and cracked walls, according to a study of Nigerian schools by S.E. Aduwa-Ogiegbaen and E.O.S. Iyamu published in 2006 in the "College Student Journal." Without adequate learning infrastructure, children cannot properly learn English.
Overcrowded classrooms constitute another factor that adversely affects the quality of English language instruction. While in Western schools this is not a problem, many developing countries score badly on this factor. For instance, most of the schools in South Africa have an educator-to-learner ratio of more than 46. In Nigeria, some schools have classrooms of 70 to 100 students. It is difficult to provide adequate English language teaching in these conditions.
Quality of Teachers
It is natural that bad teachers are ill-equipped to provide high-quality English teaching. Furthermore, some teachers in developing countries have difficulty speaking English themselves and, of course, are unable to teach English to others. In addition, teacher absenteeism, or a habitual practice of teachers skipping work, is also an issue. For example, 25 per cent of all Indian teachers are absent from work at any given time, according to BBC News.
Some children cannot learn English at school simply because they cannot afford to go to school. While school attendance is not a big problem in rich countries, developing countries suffer from children not being able to go to school because of poverty. They either cannot afford such school essentials as a pen and a notebook or cannot afford to miss work on the farm.
- "Factors Affecting Teaching And Learning In South African Public Schools"; Makola Collin Phurutse; 2005
- "College Student Journal"; Factors Affecting Quality Of English Language Teaching And Learning In Secondary Schools In Nigeria; S.E. Aduwa-Ogiegbaen, et. al.; September 2006
- BBC News: Combating India's Truant Teachers; Kaushik Basu; November 2004