British Council assesses English language skills of migrant workers

Monday, 4 August 2014 00:30 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) recently signed an MOU with the British Council to carry out English Language assessment to support its on-going efforts to up-skill migrant workers.The British Council, an organisation with more than 70 years of experience in English language development work, introduced Aptis, an innovative English language assessment tool, in 2012. Today, Aptis is used around the globe by government organisations, corporate businesses, educational institutions and NGOs to identify, develop and benchmark training. Aptis measures proficiency using a global framework for language assessment: the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Through benchmarking English language levels against this global framework, migrant workers are assured that they can communicate in English at the stipulated level when they travel overseas. Keith Davies, Country Director of British Council Sri Lanka said: “English is at the heart of what we do. Our work in English creates new and exciting opportunities for millions of people around the world. Through improved English skills of migrant workers, we open doors for them that will lead to better employment, greater mobility, more interesting jobs and a better life. English also helps to build connections between people of different cultures, communities and countries. “Our MOU with SLBFE helps to ensure that a global standard of English is being maintained around the world in our migrant workforce. Through setting standards and supporting the learning process, our English language assessment tool, Aptis, helps the migrant workforce better prepare for work and life overseas.” SLBFE, under the direction of the Ministry of Foreign Promotion and Welfare, is usingthe British Council’sAptis as a computer-based test to assess the level of English for migrant workers. The recorded sources of foreign exchange earnings show that remittance from Sri Lankans working abroad amount to over USD 5 billion in 2012 and account for over 61% of foreign exchange earnings of the country. In support of this initiative with the British Council, Amal Senalankadhikara, Chairman, Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, said: “I am confident that this project would benefit migrant workers enormously, providing them with improved English language skills to increase their employability and earn a higher remuneration.” In preparation for the Aptis English language assessment, Headway School of Languages is conducting a DynEd English language training course that prepares migrant workers in a cost effective blend of multimedia based language courseware and classroom teacher support. This highly intensive language programme uses language labs that have been established for this project through the collaborative effort of the SLBFE and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). These centres are one of the largest language training facilities in Sri Lanka and have the capacity to train approximately 1,800 workers annually.