The Basic English Programme (BEP) is a part-time course that runs on weekends in term three, between September and December. It is primarily for young people who wish to study on the Main Diploma in the following year. However, it also attracts many young people who are waiting to receive their A-level results after taking their government school examples in August.

In meetings conducted with 22 Heads of English in local tea estate government schools, only two spoke any English at all. It is hardly surprisingly therefore that year on year over 80% of students join our Main Diploma having failed to gain a grade A to C in their O Level English exam (national exam for 16 year olds). Without this they are unable to gain formal employment other than manual labour.

It also means that joining a full-time diploma programme conducted entirely in the English Medium is both necessary, in order to acquire the English skills to be employable, and hugely challenging.

The Basic English Programme was developed for four main reasons:

1) After taking their A-level exams in August, students are kept in limbo until December to find out their results – this is wasted time and the normal parental reaction is to send their children to the cities to work – where they are often exploited

2) In our first year we noticed that students were getting overwhelmed and scared by studying in English for the first time – the Basic English Programme along with the Intensive English Programme offer a response to this

3) As we now have nearly 300 applications for only 150 places on our Main Diploma, the BEP allows Tea Leaf Vision to consider individual attendance, commitment and attitude in order to ensure that we make the right choices

4) It is a perfect opportunity for our Advanced Diploma Interns to get some vital English teaching experience as they approach the end of their course.

The BEP has been a huge success and the numbers swell every year. It is so successful that we struggle to meet the demand in terms of space and teaching staff available.