Bridging the ‘English gap’: achievements and challenges of a non-award English Language Support Program

Natalia Sanjuán Bornay, Greg Collings, Regina Sliuzas


Australian universities are increasingly welcoming international non English speaking background (NESB) students with little consideration for the cultural, linguistic and institutional adjustments that the students must make.  The substantial gap between the required English language proficiency for entrance and that expected on graduation remains a concern.  This need for additional language support became evident in the Student Learning Centre (SLC) at [institutional details removed for review], where records indicated that NESB students seeking academic assistance were overrepresented.  Consequently, the SLC created an English Language Support Program (ELSP) to enhance the communication skills of NESB students. Student feedback and improvements in ability showed that this program had been successful.  However, it is only a first step in addressing the so-called ‘English problem’.  This paper discusses the advantages and constraints of non-award programs such as these to assist NESB students to bridge the ‘English gap’ in higher education.


NESB students, communication skills, English language proficiency, English language support program

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