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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Howard County Educational System’s Response to Large Number of Foreign Born Students

Howard County is fortunate that many of the foreign born residents of the County come from a good educational background in their native countries. The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) and the Howard Community College (HCC) have had to develop resources to address the needs of a growing foreign-born population.  For HCPSS this has meant to establish an Office of International Student and Family Services.  This Office has translation services, family support, liaisons, a leadership program and an outreach office.  Not surprisingly the Asian and Hispanic populations have been the source of much of this growth.  While the Hispanic population speaks a common language the Asian population speaks a very wide range of languages and dialects.

For HCC the services provided are through their English as a Second Language (ESL) program and their English Language Center. The Center has worked with students speaking 54 different languages. Half of the students coming into the Center have a college degree from their native country. The Center has two levels of instruction.  The first is the Community Education program with 725 students and is the level for students with poorer English language skills.  The instruction in these classes is free. The next level is the Intensive classes and has 650 students.  This level is for students with greater language skills and is an intermediate to advanced level of instruction. The last level is the program provided by the English Department as the Academic ESL instruction, which has 340 students and is designed to prepare students to take the regular classes at HCC.  The countries with the highest percentage of students are Korea and El Salvador.  Closely following El Salvador is Myanmar.  If you don’t recognize the name it is the country more commonly known as Burma.  The harsh dictatorship in that country has created a refugee population that has been migrating through Thailand to Malaysia to the United States.  I will write more on this population’s presence in Howard County tomorrow.

While the educational system has developed the resources to address the needs of this population the question is how have the other institutions in the County been able to respond?  That is a question I will also be addressing in a future blog.

Even if you don't agree with Herman Cain's politics you can't help but enjoy his rendition of John Lennon's Imagine.

1 comment:

University Careers said...


The role that the educational system should play in the live of people is to educate them to be conscious, critically thinking individuals who do not passively accept knowledge but question the knowledge that is being taught to them. Education should be taught to give students the skills and intelligence they need to understand the world.