Publication details [#62985]

Erling, Elizabeth J. 2017. Language planning, English language education and development aid in Bangladesh. Current Issues in Language Planning 18 (4) : 388–406.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


The enhanced status of English as the language of international communication and business has meant that development aid has increasingly been employed to finance language planning initiatives aimed at improving and/or expanding English language education. The intended result of this aid is often to supply expanded economic returns and opportunities for those who learn the language. But is it really the case that they receive these benefits? This article tries to form a deeper understanding of the relationship between English language skills and economic value by providing a meta-analysis and critical evaluation of 11 research studies. By critically evaluating this research using Sen’s capabilities approach [1999. Development as freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press], it is found that while English language skills might increase opportunities for individuals, they also appear to reinforce embedded inequalities and therefore not necessarily contribute to the well-being of societies. English language education may have restricted impact without sufficient political and economic stability. Moreover, there are ongoing and significant needs to develop literacy and numeracy in local and national languages. Equipped with this more nuanced understanding of the value of English, it is asserted that development aid and language planning initiatives can make more important contributions to holistic development and social justice.