The Linguistic Challenges of Immigration: The Irish Higher Education Sector's Response

Chonaill, B. N. (2014) The Linguistic Challenges of Immigration: The Irish Higher Education Sector's Response. In: Managing Diversity in Education: Languages, Policies, Pedagogies. UNSPECIFIED, pp. 97-108.


This chapter focuses on a small-scale exploratory study that I conducted in the higher education sector in Ireland. It provides an overview of the English language support provided to migrants in higher education during the academic year 2009-2010. Telephone interviews were used to gather information from the 27 designated institutions of the HEA (Higher Education Authority) which comprised the data set. In quantitative terms the study found that 10 of the 27 institutions offer language classes or support, in a variety of forms, to non-native speakers of English, which migrants have an opportunity to attend. The qualitative analysis raised issues around the need for language support despite the entry requirements in place, the deficit in terms of academic English which can contribute to migrants underachieving at third level, and the question of where responsibility lies for bringing migrants' English language proficiency to the necessary level - with the migrant, the institution or the state? The question of how such support is funded is pertinent, particularly in times of recession; so too is deciding how best to timetable provision to ensure student attendance. In conclusion, the study found that given the HEA's aim to promote equality of opportunity in higher education, the question of language support for migrants, and indeed all non-native speakers of English, needs to be addressed in order to address their underachievement in both higher education and the labour market.

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Chonaill 2014 (uncorrected proofs) Inhoudstafel - Managing Diversity.pdf

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