Now, I don’t have a Facebook account. I’ll rant to you another time about why I consider social networking to be a form of mass surveillance; just let it be said than before hiring anyone, and I’ve hired a lot of people in the past few years, I check out their social networking pages. But damn, it’s wild what some people will put up there in public.
Anyhow, my wife has a Facebook account, and she just found that someone she knows has a child whose ethnicity is listed on some official form as `Indian/NZ European/Pakeha’, who got automatically enrolled in an ESOL course upon enrolment at some school. Yes; apparently you can get yourself automatically enrolled in a course in school because of your ethnicity. (Think of the possibilities! I’d start with enrolling everyone of `NZ European/Pakeha’ in the full suite of Te Reo MÄori courses).
Apparently she found it pretty easy and reckoned she was the best in the class; she’d been speaking English and nothing else ever since she was born.
Now, there was a fair bit of the old `moribund bureaucratic state schools’, and rightly so. But what I think was grand about the ensuing discussion was that people universally found it absurd that someone would be prejudged on their stated ethnicity. Best quote: “Maybe they could teach her Indian as a second language?”
Perhaps they should just teach the child Asian instead? That way they could talk to everybody who doesn’t speak English, right?
Come on, they’d have to teach her Pacific as well.
Well, on the one hand I suppose auto-enrolment for ESOL classes probably saves a lot of overseas students from a fair amount of hot water, but it would certainly make sense to restrict this treatment to overseas students only, then flag New Zealand citizens whose English merits ESOL teaching during their admittance interviews.
Yeah, I suppose you could argue it’s a clumsy attempt at inclusiveness.
… or why not simply offer it to those who need it rather than profiling on the basis of an application form. For only one of many possible reasons this is idiotic in the example given, India has the world’s second-largest population of fluent English speakers.
They could learn Indo-European. That’s a real language, but it died out between 4 and 10,000 years ago.
Of course she’ll have to make a lot of it up :)