Center for Language Studies (CLS) organized a webinar about English and development discourses on September 17, 2020, in Zoom platform. This webinar was conducted by Dr. Qumrul Hasan Chowdhury, Assistant Professor of English in the Institute of Modern Languages at the University of Dhaka. He did his Ph.D. at King’s College, London, UK with Commonwealth Scholarship and MA in TESOL at UCL Institute of Education, UK, with Centenary Scholarship. His research interests are English and development Southern/critical applied linguistics, language and religion.
This facilitator presented the arguments and counter-arguments of English for development discourse to argue that English for development should take a deep and nuanced approach, exercising sensitivity to heterogeneous experiences, realities and needs in the global South. The need for local language instead of English was emphasized and the need for other native languages rather than English for migrant workers in the Middle East. The moderator, Razia Sultana, coordinator, CLS mentioned that this criticism of linguistic imperialism will beneficial for proper sustainable development in the language sector. The question-answer session addressed the connection between English language teaching and sustainable development goals, dominance of English in job interviews, lack of focus on academic Bangla, etc. Dr Shaila Sultana, advisor of CLS, ULAB pointed out the importance of endangered indigenous languages which are slowly becoming rare even in the informal domain. Language teachers and researchers from different universities attended the event through Zoom and Facebook live stream.