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Public sector primary schools

Is EYL taught as an official part of the curriculum in public sector primary schools? Yes
When was it introduced? September 1997
At what age do students begin EYL? 9/10 (Grade 4)
Have any significant changes in teaching EYL taken place since 1980? Yes. After the political changes in 1989 it became part of basic school education, starting in Grade 6. In 1997 this was dropped to Grade 4.
Is there any widespread teaching of English before the official starting age for compulsory EYL? Yes. There is a special category of schools - Basic Schools with Extended Teaching of Languages - where children can start their first foreign language in Grade 3. This covers 10% of children. Also, a minority of schools may start English in Grade 1.
How many hours a week/school year are officially allocated for EYL? 3 x 40 minutes per week = 99 lessons per year. Where English is taught in Grade 1 (as an option) there are 20minute lessons, the number varying from 2-4 per week.
How many EYL teachers and students are there in the public education system? This is very difficult to estimate. The number of teachers in Basic schools (Grades 1-9) is 65,000, so a reasonable guess/estimate for EYL teachers is between 5,000 and 8,000. The guess/estimate for students is 150,000.
Who does the EYL teaching? • The children's normal class teacher
• A specialist teacher who visits different schools to give lessons
• An unqualified teacher who knows English
Who is qualified to teach EYL in the public education system? • A teacher of another subject who has been requalified to teach English
(See note 1)

• A primary school teacher with pre-service training
• A secondary school teacher who is willing to work in a primary school (the pay is lower)
• Occasionally a native speaker (with no formal qualifications)
Nationwide are schools able to recruit enough EYL teachers? No. Teacher supply is a problem. In some areas qualification requirements are being relaxed so that classes can be covered.

Local authorities are running courses to upgrade teachers' language skills. Some of these courses are officially recognised with university support, but they are not standardised.

What official guidelines exist for EYL teaching? There is a fairly detailed outline of suitable content listing, e.g., topic areas, functions, skills to concentrate on. The syllabus is often the text book.
Do EYL teaching materials have to be approved? There is a list of officially approved books for which the school budget can be used, but if parents agree to pay, other books may be used
What materials are typically used?  • Internationally published coursebooks (well over 50%)
• Locally published coursebooks (30-40%)
What other foreign languages are taught at primary level? About half of the children learn German
Are any changes in the provision of EYL planned or anticipated? Possibly lowering the start age to Grade 3 to come in line with EU recommendations - but this will probably not happen for at least 5 years

Note 1*
Between 1990 and 1995 requalifying courses were popular, but mostly for Grade 5+. The majority of teachers in primary Grade 4 and below have no formal qualifications to teach English but as qualified primary teachers are permitted to do so.

Private sector primary schools

Is there a significant number of these schools? No, there are only 1 or 2 in the whole country

Private language schools

Is there a significant number of these schools? Yes
How many Young Learners take private language school classes? Under 20%
How many hours of English do they typically offer? 2 per week
Is there any perceived conflict between public and private provision in EYL? Children in private schools are more advanced than their public school counterparts and have a head start in preparing for the entrance exams to special 'extended language' schools.
What materials do they use for EYL? The same materials as are used in public schools

Private tuition for Young Learners

Is there private tuition for primary age children? Basically no (less than 0.5%)

Date information collected: 1999

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