40,000 Ukrainian police to learn English

01/10/2010 - Well dear readers, according to Deputy Interior Minister Viktor Ratushniak, 40,ooo Ukrainian police officers will learn English in time for the Euro 2012 football tournament.

The cost to Ukraine, a mere UAH 300 million……or $37,974,683 and a few cents…….or $949 per officer.

The English lessons will be carried out at universities, police institutes and civilian education facilities.

All very good, quite understandable and reasonably costed dependent upon the level of English they will be taught.

The questions which come readily to mind are:

What level of English and in what time frame?

Is there a specific program that has been devised relating to the type of questions and/or statements that a police officer at a major football tournament would be expected to be asked or use, given the situations they are likely to face?

One has to suspect that knowing and pronouncing “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain” would be quite pointless compared to “Turn left, right, go straight on” or even “you are under arrest and coming with me” etc etc.

Who will teach the 40,000 officers in 18 months to be proficient enough in English to be capable of more than parrot fashion phrase and response?

Is it necessary for a native tongued English teacher to do so or will a Ukrainian teacher be just as able?  Do they need to be exposed to teachers with foreign accents making the understanding of English somewhat difficult in certain circumstances?

(I have to say that there are many English teachers in Ukraine, some qualified and some not, of a native tongue, that do not have a reasonable command of the language they are trying to impart).

Which civilian educational establishments are we talking about here?  English language schools staffed with native tongues teachers many of which are either here illegally or at the very least working illegally without the relevant Visa and Work Permit.

One of the better schools I know of here can only employ 11 native tongues teachers across the entire nation, as that is the maximum amount Ukraine will give Work Permits for as far as that school is concerned.  Most schools just pay the teachers cash and ignore any and all Visa and Work Permit rules completely.

How many schools will want to teach the police given their tax avoidance, illegal working and time in country issues they have with their native tongued teachers here anyway……particularly is Ukraine is paying the bill, how do you hide that from the tax officials or tender for the chance without exposing your unpaid historical taxes?

How much English tuition do you actually get for $949 per officer?  An English teacher can command anything between $10 and $20 per hour, dependent upon lesson, class numbers, private 1 to 1 tuition etc……there are many variables to the costs and of course profits.

Does that $949 include logistical expenses such as venue hire, transportation for the officers to and from lessons?  If so what is the actual envisaged length of tuition per officer when those costs have been deducted from the $949?

Who supplies the standard course material and who checks the individual ability of each of these 40,000 police officers?

Would this be an ideal opportunity for organisations like the British Council to offer their services at a hugely discounted rate and at the same time try and influence the “rule of law” at the grass roots level…..dependent upon the English language program for the officers?

An issue I will try and keep appraised of and keep you all informed over…….it could be interesting!