ERIC Number: ED365170
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Language and Literacy Education for Southeast Asian Refugees. ERIC Digest.
Ranard, Donald A.; Pfleger, Margo
The United States has admitted more than 1 million Southeast Asian refugees since 1975. The impact of these refugees on language and literacy education has been profound; many innovations in adult English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) education have derived from efforts to meet their language and literacy needs. The first wave of refugees in the mid-1970s included individuals with high levels of education. The debate that began in 1975 continues today: Should refugees receive intensive language and job training before entering the labor force, or should they get jobs right away and study English part-time? A U.S. policy represented a compromise between the two positions, and government programs provided up to 3 years of public assistance including free language education. Literacy was not explicitly taught. The second wave of refugees, including many rural people with little schooling, came in the late 1970s. Their arrival resulted in two major educational developments: the 1980 Overseas Refugee Training Program, and a re-examination of the entire approach to refugee education. Today's Southeast Asian refugees--largely Hmong, an ethnic minority from Laos, and former political prisoners from Vietnam--are arriving at a time of diminishing government support for refugee education and growing pressure for refugees to become employed as soon as possible. Newcomers with more than basic English skills are at a disadvantage, pushed to find jobs and study English part-time. Refugees with higher English skills have difficulty finding an appropriate ESL program. However, programs are adapting to current needs and interests. (LB)
Descriptors: Adult Literacy, English (Second Language), Government Role, Hmong People, Job Skills, Language Skills, Literacy Education, Program Development, Public Policy, Refugees, Trend Analysis, Vietnamese People
ERIC/NCLE, 1118 22nd Street N.W., Washington, DC 20037.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Adjunct ERIC Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education, Washington, DC.; National Clearinghouse for ESL Literacy Education, Washington, DC.
Identifiers: Asia (Southeast); ERIC Digests