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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? 1989
At what age do students begin EYL? Normally age 9/10 (Grade 4), but English can be taught in Grades 1, 2 and 3 with the permission of the English Inspectorate
Have any significant changes in teaching EYL taken place since 1980? Not other than noted above
Is there any widespread teaching of English before the official starting age for compulsory EYL? Since 1992 there has been a growing trend to teach English in Grade 3, age 8/9. At present about 50% of Grade 3 students study English. This move is favoured by politicians and parents but not by the English Inspectorate. Some kindergartens are also introducing English.
How many hours a week/school year are officially allocated for EYL? Grade 3: 2 hours per week
Grade 4: 2-3 hours per week
Grades 5 and 6: 3-4 hours per week
(Each lesson is 45 minutes long and the school year runs September-June)
How many EYL teachers and students are there in the public education system? No statistics available
Who does the EYL teaching? • A specialist teacher who works in only one school
• A specialist teacher who works in two schools
Who is eligible to teach EYL in the public education system? • A primary teacher with special in-service training in English language and/or EYL methodology note¹ 
• A teacher who has had pre-service training at college or university and is qualified to become a teacher of English at primary level*
• A secondary teacher who is willing to work in a primary school*
• A university graduate of English who has not taken courses in education or teaching methodology*
• A native speaker of English who has no recognised qualifications as a teacher*

* These persons must pass the same proficiency exam as the specialist teacher working in only one school.

Nationwide are schools able to recruit enough EYL teachers? No. Initiatives to tackle the problem are being discussed.
What official guidelines exist for EYL teaching? There is a general description of aims for EYL but no specific advice about content. There is also a national counsellor who gives in-service talks to teachers about EYL.
Do EYL teaching materials have to be approved? There is an official list of approved locally produced materials. A teacher may choose any approved materials that are within the school's budget (though in practice it is the students who buy the books).
What materials are typically used? • Original materials devised by teachers
• Lesson materials adapted from published sources
• Locally published coursebooks
What other foreign languages are taught at primary level? Arabic (in junior high school) for the Jewish sector; Hebrew for the Arabic sector
Are any changes in the provision of EYL planned or anticipated? There is public pressure, which the English Inspectorate is resisting, to start teaching English earlier.

Note ¹ These teachers have to demonstrate proficiency in a written and oral exam. The oral exam consists of an interview. The written exam includes reading comprehension, two writing tasks - one that is classroom-based and another that is expository - and a task that requires the teacher to recognise errors and explain the difficulties.

The methodology course covers teaching different skills, assessment, coursebook evaluation, teaching heterogeneous classes, CALL, use of literature, etc.

Private sector primary schools

Is there a significant number of these schools? No

Private language schools

Is there a significant number of these schools? Yes
How many Young Learners take private language school classes? Not stated
How many hours of English do they typically offer? 1-2 per week
Is there any perceived conflict between public school and private language school provision in EYL? These extra lessons sometimes help students who are having difficulties.
What materials do they use for EYL? Not stated

Private tuition for Young Learners

Is there private tuition for primary age children? Yes
How many Young Learners are involved? Not known
What is the typical starting age for private tuition? Before mainstream education
Why do parents use private tutors? They believe that a knowledge of English is important and worry that their children will not know the language as well as they do

Date information collected: 1999

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