Current Developments in English for Academic and Specific Purposes in Developing, Emerging and Least-Developed Countries

Mark Krzanowski


Collected papers from presentations at the Harrogate (2006) Conference of the IATEFL ESP SIG.

ISBN: 9781901095173

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CEF Level: N/A  IELTS Level: N/A

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Current Developments in English for Academic and Specific Purposes in Developing, Emerging and Least-Developed Countries

Current Developments in English for Academic and Specific Purposes in Developing, Emerging and Least-Developed Countries is a collection of papers which reflect the unique diversity of ESP and EAP in the developing world. While some of the papers present a historical overview of ESP and EAP in particular countries, the other papers are a representative sample of ongoing good practice in a specific context. The papers in the book are contributions of the members of the ESP SIG at IATEFL, and most of them were presented at the Pre-Conference Event in Harrogate (2006).

The IATEFL ESP SIG hopes that this book proves a unique and timely publication for ELT and Applied Linguistics practitioners who wish to gain a better understanding of the specifics of EAP and ESP in developing, emerging and least-developed countries. The ESP Special Interest Group (SIG) is one of the fourteen SIGs at IATEFL, and its main focus is English for Specific Purposes, English for Academic Purposes and English for Occupational/Professional Purposes. The main objective of the SIG is to disseminate good practice in ESP (as well as in EAP and EO/PP) through its membership and to promote models of excellence in ESP to ELT professionals internationally through workshops, seminars and conferences and through publishing the output in our Journal and in leading international ELT journals and periodicals. More information on the ESP SIG can be found on

For other ESP SIG titles published by Garnet Education, please visit the Journals and Academic Papers section.


Format: Paperback

Publication date: 1 Apr 2009

Number of pages: 348

BIC code: EB

BISAC code: FOR007000


Chapter 1: Angola: The ups and downs of an experiment in teaching technical English in Angola by Leonardo Makiesse Ntemo Mack
Chapter 2: Bangladesh: ELT, ESP and EAP in Bangladesh: An overview of the status and the need for English by Sayeedur Rahman
Chapter 3: Brazil (1): ESP: From theory to practice in a Brazilian setting by Debora Ize Balsemao Oss and Magaly Ruwer
Chapter 4: Brazil (2): ESP in Brazil: History, new trends and challenges by Rosinda de Castro Guerra Ramos
Chapter 5: Burma: Authenticating Business English materials: Project work as supplementing, contextualizing and appropriating Business English materials by Tan Bee Tin
Chapter 6: Cambodia: A short overview of EAP in Cambodia in 2006-2007 by Margareta Langbacka Walker
Chapter 7: China: Is English a temporary fashion or long-term trend? ELT, EAP and ESP in China by Yong Chen
Chapter 8: Ghana: Domains of English in Ghana and its use for specific purposes by Jemima Asabea Anderson, Gladys Nyarko Ansah and Patience Afrakom hMensa
Chapter 9: India: Positioning ESP in an ESL situation by Aysha Viswamohan
Chapter 10: Iran: The effects of social and textual modelling writing: Effects of instruction on Iranian learners' writing ability by Ehya Amalsaleh and Hojatollah Yamini
Chapter 11: Kenya: English for specific purposes: Its place in Kenya's education context by Kibiwott Peter Kurgat
Chapter 12: Nepal: An overview of ELT, EAP and ESP in Nepal: Whose interest is served? by Prithvi Narayan Shrestha
Chapter 13: Nigeria: Teaching 'the other English' for communication in Nigeria by Sunday I. Duruoha
Chapter 14: Palestine: Teaching English for general and specific purposes in Palestine by Insaf Saleh
Chapter 15: Philippines: English for students caring for the elderly in Japan by Junko Kono
Chapter 16: Thailand: The impact of the National Education Act 1999 on English-language teaching in higher education, Thailand by Songsri Soranastaporn and Singhanat Kenny Namnian
Chapter 17: South Africa (1): Challenging hegemony, enabling access: Course design and assessment in English-language studies for teacher education at the University of South Africa by Glenda Holcroft
Chapter 18: South Africa (2): From the general to the specific: Pre-sessional English at the Nelson Mandela University by Francois du Toit
Chapter 19: Yemen (1): The status of English for Specific Purposes in the Republic of Yemen by Abdulhameed Ashuja'a
Chapter 20: Yemen (2): Evaluating the ESP and EAP situation in a Yemeni context by Nagm-Addin M.A. Saif
Chapter 21: Zambia: Burying the ghost of English in Zambia by Bernard Nchindila
Authors: Notes about Contributors
Editor: Notes about the Editor

Author details

Mark Krzanowski holds an MA in Applied Linguistics, the RSA/UCLES Dip TEFLA, a PG DMS, and is a Fellow of HEA (the Higher Education Academy). Mark has been involved in English Language Teaching since 1990. He is based in London, and his current academic affiliations include: the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the University of London, where he lectures in English for Academic and Specific Purposes to international postgraduate students; the Language Centre, University of Arts London, where he is the Course Leader for Insessional EAP Courses; and the Department of English and Linguistics at the University of Westminster, where he lectures in TESOL and TEFL to BA and MA students. He also acts as External Assessor in ELT for Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa. Since 2003, Mark has been the Co-ordinator of the IATEFL’s (International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) ESP (English for Specific Purposes) SIG (Special Interest Group).

In addition, he is also involved in academic consultancies abroad: in the last four years, he has worked on various EAP and ESP projects in Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan), India, Pakistan, South Africa, China, Palestine, Oman, Bahrain and Yemen. In the past, Mark was Academic Co-ordinator for ELT in the Dept of PACE at Goldsmiths College, University of London (2002–2005); Head of ELT Unit and Senior Lecturer in EAP at the University of Hertfordshire (1997–1999–2002); and EAP Co-ordinator at UCL/University College London (1993–1997).

Mark is actively involved in scholarly activity. In April 2008, he was plenary speaker at the Sultan Qaboos University ELT Conference (Muscat, Oman), and in July 2008, he was the plenary speaker at the English for Work Symposium in Johannesburg, South Africa, organized at Wits University by the British Council and SAATEIL. He is also the editor of Current Developments in English for Academic, Specific and Occupational Purposes (Publisher: Garnet Education, March 2008) and Current Developments in English for Academic and Specific Purposes in Developing, Emerging and Least-Developed Countries.

Mark’s professional interests include: materials design in EAP and ESP; teacher training; trainer training; academic listening; applied linguistics; academic management; learning and teaching; and teaching and teacher training via videoconferencing.


"We picked up this volume in the hope that at last here was a collection of papers that would address the needs of EAP and ESP teachers in developing and emerging countries - after all, that's what it says on the tin. But closer examination reveals an edited collection of papers from a conference, some of which address the theme only tangentially. That said there are some gems hidden within its pages.

The book has chapters by authors working in a range of countries: seven chapters from Africa, but only one from a country where English has no official status; three from south Asia; five from south east Asia; two from Brazil; three from the Middle East. The choice of papers seems arbitrary, the unifying factor being that most were presented at the IATEFL 2006 ESP SIG pre-conference event.

Nine chapters - almost half - present a historical view of English language teaching and learning (in the case of Ghana, beginning in the 1550s). In some cases this will be helpful to the reader interested in language education policy but in other cases, for example chapter four on ESP in Brazil, the detail may be excessive. Other chapters present descriptive overviews or case studies of recent projects; for example chapter one describes a project to teach technical English in Angola; chapter five recounts a business English in Burma; chapter 15 describes a project to teach English to Filipina care-workers in Japan; and chapter 18 describes a pre-sessional course at Nelson Mandela University, RSA. These chapters would have benefited from stronger editorial guidance to make the discussion section more useful to readers who work in other contexts.

India (population 1.2 billion) merits only seven content pages whereas Kenya (population 38 million) is the longest article in the book at 21 content pages. The content of the two chapters on Brazil overlaps. Mack's somewhat emotional Angolan case study is actually about ESP (training car mechanics) while Rahman's fascinating account of language policy in Bangladesh barely mentions EAP/ESP until the final sentence of it concluding paragraph.

Chapter 13 - 'Teaching "the other English" for communication in Nigeria' describes arguments for and practice in teaching Nigerian English at school level; neither EAP nor ESP is mentioned.

Where then are the gems? Some contributors offer genuinely interesting insights which deserve our attention. In her chapter on ESP in Brazil, Rsinda Ramos clarifies the reasons why so much academic ESP gets bogged down in reading. Ehya Amalsaleh and Hojatollah Yamini (Iran) report on an interesting study of methodology for teaching EAP writing, although the results are somewhat inconclusive. In chapter 21, 'Burying the ghost of English in Zambia', Bernard Nchindila reviews the process of language policy change in Zambia, a process he feels was not grounded in solid research. He goes on to challenge 'applied linguists to protect the sanctity of research validity and reliability if language research has to serve the purpose of transforming society'. Donors such as the UK's Department for International Development as well as applied linguists should take note.

This volume could be of use for people planning to work in one of the countries represented in its pages as the historical reviews provide useful background information. If you search, there is interesting comment on language policy developments in some countries."

- George and Geraldine Kershaw for the EL Gazette, November 2009

This collection of papers illustrates the diverse problems facing countries in the developing world as they struggle with English for Specific Purposes (ESP) and English for Academic Purposes (EAP). The 21 papers are a mixture of background information concerning significant factors in the disciplines previously mentioned as well as best conventions in performing specific tasks and functions. The 18 countries range from African countries such as Angola, Ghana and South Africa to countries from Asia, such as Cambodia, the Philippines and Thailand. There are also countires from the Middle East and South America. Due to space, not all the papers can be reviewed; however, this review concentrates on the four main regions: Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America.

Middle East

The three papers covered in this section are from Iran, Palestine and Yemen. "The effects of social and textual modelling writing: Effects of instruction on Iranian learners' writing ability" by Ehya Amalsaleh from the Paramedical School of Shiraz University of Medical Sciences and Hojatollah Yamini of the Islamci Azad University of Marvdasht was the first paper to be reviewed. It focuses on two methods of teaching writing: textual and social modelling.

The aim of the project was to assess the students writing skills by splitting them into two groups and giving them a pre-test. Each group would undergo different methodology (textual and social modelling) to see which group would best acquire the intended writing skills. The results showed that the textual model provided the best results although there was a good class interaction in the social modelling group. This is a more academic paper compared to the others in the book; however, it was written in as easy style so that the process was easy to understand and it would not be too difficult to carry out a similar experiment in your own classroom.

The second paper came from Insaf Saleh of the Al-Quds Open University in the Palestinian Territories. "Teaching English for general and specific purposes in Palestine" give a more general description of English language teaching in that area although it does later go on to explain about more specialised teaching.

English is now taught from the first grade based on a curriculum and a series of twelve books specifically designed for the region called English for Palestine. Importantly, the curriculum is graded to enable better understanding and success during the later stages of learning.

The University of Palestine ensures that all students that study there take a minimum of two courses of English (6-9 credit hours) at the beginning of their university education. These courses are specific for the majors that they have been designed for leading to EST, EOP and EAP courses for medical, science and engineering students to name but a few. There is also a section describing the in-service teacher training that is available offered by the Ministry of Education and outside organisations.

This paper is very comprehensive in its description of what English language courses are available in the territories, giving the reader a good picture of what can be achieved under difficult conditions. It illustrates areas that can be reflected upon concerning one's own education system by making basic English language learning more specific for an individual country's learners.

The last paper in this region is "Evaluating the ESP and EAP situation in a Yemeni EFL context" by Nagm-Addin M.A. Saif from the Technical Industrial Institute, Taiz, Yemen. The author details how ESP and EAP fit into the education system in Yemen, detailing present strategy before moving on to a proposed new strategy, based on a series of recommendations focusing on a national strategy taking into account students' needs and wants together with materials that are more relevant to the teaching situation. From this, the reader can once again reflect on their own country's efforts in these fields and decide whether there is a similar need for a rethink in ESP/EAP strategy locally.


With the African Cup of Nations having just taken place and the football World Cup in South Africa in 2010, it is only fitting to look at Angola, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa in this region.

"The ups and downs of an experiment in teaching technical English in Angola" by Leonardo Makiesse Ntemo Mack is a brief article concerning the teaching of technical English in a large camp in Malongo, Angola administered by a large petro-chemical company Chevron. He details the preparation for the course by conducting a SWOT analysis and then trying to overcome the problems encountered. After the needs analysis was conducted the course was designed and then an account of the "ups and downs" experienced during the course were detailed. The end of course results are discussed with a section on conclusions and recommendations for the future.

As mentioned previously, this is a small study; however, it has been used by the company to prepare future ESP courses that are going to be taught as part of the programme. There is nothing to stop individual teachers conducting the same type of action research to find ways of improving existing courses by instigating some kind of intervention to benefit the stakeholder as well as the students concerned in their own country.

The second paper is "Domains of English in Ghana and its use for specific purposes" by Jemima Asabea Anderson, Gladys Nyarko Ansah and Patience Afrakoma hMensa from the Department of English, University of Ghana, Legon, the University of Brighton and the Open University, Milton Keynes respectively. This article explains how English is used in Ghana, which is a multi-lingual country due to its history and the mobility of its workforce. English is used in education from nursery school up to university level; however, Ghanaian is used as the medium of instruction at lower primary level and then it reverts to English for the remaining stages of education.

Government policy is that the use of Ghanaian languages be used to promote national unity in the media, although in truth this is not the case as the use of local languages is marginal and this would exclude the majority of the population from having an input. English is the major language of politics as well as the language of law. It is also the language of government; used as the official language in all formal and official settings. This article gives a good overview of the use of English in Ghana, even though there are 83 indigenous languages available; or maybe it is because there are 83 indigenous languages that English is used in everyday life?

"Teaching 'the other English' for communication in Nigeria" by Sunday I. Duruoha from Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Nigeria gives an insight into how courses can be developed for an estabished new type of English, namely Nigerian English. Focusing first on indigenous language influence, this article shows how L1 influences English to become Nigerian English. Listening and speaking are the main skills covered as Nigerian English is to be taught for communication purposes.

This paper was very enjoyable to read as it is unusual to see a description and culturally determined usages of a type of English that is not normally used outside of a specific country. In our globalised world in which we live today, I wouldn't be surprised to find that there are many more situations like this; unfortunately they are not publicized for the general public.

The final paper in this region is from South Africa "From the general to the specific: Pre-sessional English at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University" by Francois du Toit from the Centre for International Education, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. This article demonstrates how to cater for international students from countries where English is not spoken, who intend on studying in universities in South Africa. The purpose of the programme was to improve the proficiency levels of the international students to a level where they would be able to pass an examination allowing them to attend courses which were taught in English. What was used was a "pragmatic-eclectic" approach to the design of the programme, its methodology and assessment. "If it works use, if not, get rid of it."

As well as looking at general English and CALL, the sections on basic interpersonal communication skills and English for general academic purposes were particularly useful. The recommended methodology seems simplistic; however, it is very close to what the majority of practitioners would like to do and that is to:

1. experience it

2. talk about it

3. write about it

4. language learning must be a pleasant experience (positive affection/motivation)

This programme lasted for 16 weeks and consisted of 24 credits. Formal contact was for 20 hours per week and there were also additional reading and writing assignments amongst other activities. Importantly, those students who achieved a pass mark of 65% or above were nominated to sit the IELTS test as part of the quality assurance mechanism that is in place.


Cambodia, the Philippines and Thailand are all developing countries with their own specific problems; however, they share a need for English in order to compete in the globalisation process that is taking place.

The first paper concerns Cambodia and is entitled "A short overview of EAP in Cambodia in 2006-2007". The main area covered by Margareta Langbacka Walker from The Royal University of Phnom Penh Institute of Foreign Languages was higher education in the period 2006-2007 and included the history of the English department where she works and the work that they conduct today.

There is mention of Pannasastra University, the University of Cambodia and the Australian Centre of Education, giving an insight as to what could be expected if you became involved in ESP/EAP in Cambodia. The author has even been handed in this paper by detailing the upside as well as the downside, resulting in the reader receiving a balanced view as to the state of play.

The second paper was for some reason under the heading the Philippines, which was about a subject not covered in great detail before which was "English for students caring for the elderly in Japan". The main focus of this paper is the construction of a textbook, primarily to be used with Japanese students, written by English language teachers in conjunction with specialists in elderly care.

The aim of this project is to provide ESP training for Japanese students who are studying welfare and nursing care, so that they can interact with care workers from overseas from countries such as the Philippines. Japan has opened up this area of employment due to its ageing population and low birth-rate. It is more than likely that Japan will have the oldest population in the world by 2030.

Junko Kono from Ryukoku University in Kyoto, Japan emphasised the importance of the needs analysis when starting this project and was fortunate to be able to tap into the wealth of experience and knowledge that members of the collaboration possessed due to their roles as elderly care specialists. The subject areas were narrowed down to 12 units which were to be taught over one semester. Examples are shown from some of the units and it made me think seriously about similar projects that could be conducted here in Thailand and globally.

The final paper reviewed in this section was "The impact of the National Education Act 1999 on English-language teaching in higher education, Thailand". The 1999 Education Act was a landmark piece of legislation; however, its implementation has been fraught with problems. This paper by Songsri Soranastaporn and Singhanat Kenny Nomnian from Mahidol University details the advancement of technologies due to globalisation and then focuses on key English language policies, before moving on to English language curriculum in Thai universities and concentrating on Mahidol University in particular.

One area that was mentioned but not discussed in great detail was educational standards and quality assurance. Whilst most managers and administrators in Thailand are aware of the excellent work conducted by ONESQA (Office for National Education Standards and Quality Assessment), from a personal point of view I thought more space could have been given to the lack of internal quality control exhibited by the vast majority of educational establishments in Thailand.

Overall, the paper describes what is expected from Thailand's higher educational institutions due to promulgation of the 1999 Education Act and shows specifically how Mahidol University has addessed these issues. One of the most important points mentioned was that of integrating the use of a Language Learning Centre (or Self Access Centre) into the syllabus in order to introduce students into areas such as self directed and autonomous learning.

The authors reported five areas that were emphasised by the Minister of Education at that time for future development.

1. The establishment of a culture of educational quality.

2. The reforming of teaching and learning.

3. The production of research and innovation.

4. The strengthening of education audit and quality assessment.

5. The planning of university standards with a strong direction.

In addition, there were also details of the need to produce graduates that were knowledgeable and creative; that could think critically and analytically, as well as having decent morals and ethics.

South America

There are two papers on Brazil, which unfortunately are the only contributors for South America. The first is "ESP: From theory to practice in a Brazilian setting" by Debora Ize Balsemao Oss and Magaly Ruwer from Caxias do Sul University, Brazil, which looks at how ESP has evolved during the last thirty years, taking into account the Brazilian National ESP Project. Having a national project was something that allowed teachers to network by providing them with workshops and background knowledge. Since the development of the project in the 1980s, professors at the local university level have taken up the challenge and researched in their own classrooms using a more student centred approach.

With regard to the Brazilian EAP context, two courses are emphasised, English in Medicine and English for Computer Science. The development of both these courses illustrates how teachers need to be up to date with current knowledge and to be aware of their students' needs and what drives them. The article concluded by stating how important it is that ESP fulfils the needs of the nation; the understanding of the students and the belief of the teachers that it is the right way forward.

The second paper is by Rosinda de Castro Guerra Ramos called "ESP in Brazil: History, new trends and challenges", which looks at the Brazilian National ESP Project in more detail as well as current trends and future directions. From this article it is evident that ESP will be driven by the needs of its students especially in the tourism and hotel sectors which have shown a demand for tasks which are carried out in the workplace. There is also healthy research into these areas too, as well as subjects such as international commerce and publicity.


This book of ESP and EAP papers, most of which were presented at a pre-conference IATEFL event in 2006, gives the reader a good background knowledge of the countries concerned, with insights into problem areas contained in specific regions. While reading, it is important to reflect on the ESP/EAP situation in the country where you are living to get the maximum benefit from this book. There is something for everyone to learn, understand and enjoy, whilst they move around the developing, emerging and least developed countries of the world.

Steven Graham teaches at Udon Thani Rajabhat University in the north east of Thailand, as well as acting as an educational consultant for the Udon Education Foundation. His main areas of concern are ESP and EAP as part of Thailand's national higher education curriculum. He is also involved in teacher training and the development of primary school educational materials.

- Steven Graham for ThaiTESOL online edition, June 2010