Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a fund which intends to combat social isolation through teaching English to isolated women.
According to statistics highlighted by the Prime Minister, around 190,000 Muslim women had little or no English language skills. There has been a great emphasis on building a united society and Cameron believes that it is no longer right to continue the ‘passive tolerance’ of separate communities co-existing within the same geographical proximity.
The classes will take place both at homes and in the wider community, with travel expenses and childcare costs being offered in order to allow for greater participation in the scheme. It is planned to continue the work already being done by the English Language Fund, which is likely to have provided training to more than 30,000 adults by March this year.
He hopes that it will help in the fight to eradicate extremism and radicalisation, as well as bringing an end to discrimination and social isolation.
However; the Prime Minister’s aspiration have been met with doubt by some.
The Shadow Home Secretary, Andy Burnham, has argued that Cameron is at risk of putting up rather than breaking down barriers. He expressed concern that “it could end up driving further radicalisation, rather than tackling it”.
Even the former co-chairman of the Conservative Party, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, and Chair of the Muslim Women’s Network, Shaista Gohir, have both argued that the plans are flawed. Baroness Warsi has stated that gang culture and poor foreign policy decisions are far more likely to lead to radicalisation and Shaista Gohir has stated that the fund should be opened up to all communities.
The Prime Minister believes that the new £20m fund is now more targeted than funding for English language classes has been previously.