Dr Mike Chick, Senior Lecturer in ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), provided expert opinion on the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee’s report into refugees and asylum seekers in Wales.
The report highlighted the lack of adequate ESOL
provision in Wales. Dr Chick emphasised the crucial role that universities could play, because they have experience in providing language tuition to international students. He also reported that many Higher Education Institutions in the UK also offer scholarships and subsidies to refugees and asylum seekers – but that currently, only one Welsh university does so.
After reading the report’s recommendations, Dr Chick said: “I am extremely impressed by the humane, progressive and egalitarian tone of the report. It sets Wales apart in its desire to play a role in the current global migrant crisis by making Wales the world’s first ‘Nation of Sanctuary’.
“It is also very pleasing to see the report acknowledging the excellent work being done through partnerships between third sector and private and public organisations. USW’s collaboration with the Welsh Refugee Council, which provides English language programmes to refugees in Cardiff and Rhondda Cynon Taff, is one such example of this.
“The recommendations made in the report will have a real impact on the many refugees and asylum seekers currently in Wales, and will be tremendously important in helping these people to successfully integrate.
“From a Higher Education standpoint, it’s heartening to see that specific reference has been made to the role that universities can play in supporting the new Nation of Sanctuary strategy. The report recognises that universities are uniquely placed to implement a number of the aims of the strategy, particularly with regard to helping refugees access Higher Education, and to researching the issues surrounding migration and integration. It suggests exciting times for ESOL departments across Wales.”