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December 05, 2003

Saddam Lives - in English Texts

The administration currently overseeing reconstruction of war-torn Iraq has been advised not to replace existing English language textbooks, despite their references to Saddam Hussein. Malcolm Griffiths, a freelance ELT consultant contracted by the British Council to carry out an assessment of ELT needs in Iraq, was impressed by the standard of English language curriculum design under the Saddam regime. In his report he said that a newly designed curriculum and textbooks were sound and reflected up-to-date thinking, adding that the Saddam references could be easily removed by teachers and students. "I'd seen much more politically influenced materials in the past and I thought this was actually quite mild," he said in an interview published in the council's internal magazine. "My approach would be to set up a series of seminars on how to work with and adapt these materials - rather than throw them out and lose lots of time writing an entirely new series of books." (From an Education Guardian story)

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