The discourse of ‘English as a language for international development’: Policy assumptions and practical challenges


With English increasingly being positioned as the pre-eminent language of international communication, this chapter examines the ways in which language education policies in developmental contexts are responding to this trend and promoting English as a vital element in the skill-set necessary for successful participation in twenty-first century society. The chapter looks at the ways in which English is conceptualized, both in terms of its form and function, in policy documents, and analyzes the assumptions that are encoded in such policies as they relate to the role and status of English in the world today. Drawing on policies related to the ‘English in Action’ project that is currently active in Bangladesh, the chapter explores the language ideologies that create the concept of ‘English as a language for international development’, and uses this analysis as a means of addressing the question of what sort of contribution English language education can productively make to development agendas.


Seargeant, P.; Erling, E.J. The discourse of ‘English as a language for international development’: Policy assumptionsand practical challenges. In: Coleman, H. (Ed.) Dreams and Realities: Developing Countries and the English Language. British Council, (2011) 248-267. ISBN 0-86355-659-0

Published 1 January 2011