Saturday, June 16, 2012

Birmingham Becomes Babel

Cultural Enrichment News

Schools in the English city of Birmingham are now so culturally enriched that teachers require interpreters if they are to communicate with their charges — never mind educate them.

Many thanks to our Spanish correspondent Hermes for translating this article from Alerta Digital. The same topic was reported a few days ago in the British press:

Pupils from a British school use up to 31 different languages and force teachers to communicate with them through translators

Languages at Martyrs School, Birmingham
Pupils from Martyrs School

Its name dates back to the country’s glory days, but the Martyrs School is a true symbol of the multicultural sewer UK has turned into. The pupils of this school located in Sparkhill, Birmingham, speak a total of 31 languages, some of them as exotic as the Afrikaans or Tamil.

The newspaper Birmingham Mail revealed that more than 120 languages are spoken in the schools of the town, something which makes it difficult for the pupils both to integrate well, and also to reach a good level of academic achievement.

In spite of its being a Catholic school, the majority of the pupils at Martyrs are Pakistanis. Urdu or Mirpuri is the most used language by them. The issue reached a bizarre level when it came to light that school personnel need translators in order to be able to communicate with pupils.

The British Government’s latest statistics point out that pupils having English as their mother tongue are in a minority in more that a quarter of all schools in Birmingham.

The Department for Education indicates that the majority of the students in elementary and secondary schools from the 430 centres registered in the town on a daily basis use a language different from the country’s official language.

The Martyrs School is an example of the cultural reversion the country suffers. From having mainly Catholic pupils in the 1950s 1960s, it currently has a majority of students who follow the Islamic faith. Only 11% of students are now Catholics.

For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.


Vince said...

I was In what you may call a culturally enriched part of Birmingham once. Was in a tesco superstore and was quite surprised to see a huge halal butchers within the tesco. What surprised me even more is that I went inside the majority of customers were blonde haired women, Occasionaly With Their partners and 2-3 kids each.

This surprised me as I expected largely pakistanis to be inside. By the time I finished my shopping, of the 7 or so women that I hears speak, it was quite obvious they weren't English. They were speaking some form of eastern European language assumingly polish.

What was interesting was that these young women (majority would appear to be in 20s) seemed to buck the trend when it came to the standard child bearing habits of most western nations. Perhaps stereotyping but I came to conclusion perhaps the generous welfare system was a major factor behind it.

If we note those that appear to have the most children in society Appear to be in the lower socio-economic brackets across all races. For example the career driven Pakistani women I have met do not start having children until their 30s and again it seems to be merely one or two at most. Suggested to me economics may play a far greater role than we think.

Obviously what you all may be thinking is surely I should highlight more strongly the fact that there was literally no English natives within the store. I guess I could, but the general atmosphere and vibe from the eastern Europeans seemed amicable, verses the suspicious and occasional scowling faces of the Pakistani shoppers.

The assumption would be those immigrants of similar cultural (perhaps also to an extent physical) attributes, should fit an and integrate far easier than those that do not. The assumption would also be that a generation later the children of the eastern European immigrants will be fully integrated Brits. I suppose in essence they
Should find it easier to melt in society.

Bit off topic but hey, our experiences can sometimes say a lot more than we think.

Anonymous said...

@ Vince

That's a nice story. When I lived in Dublin, a few years ago, I met a lot of Polish people. Unlike the Africans and (non-East Asian) Asians whom I met, who to a man hated Ireland and the Irish, the Poles were well integrated. They were pretty much all intelligent fair people, though they could add a bite to their personalities when needed.

Given that I at times despair that England is entirely lost the Europeans, to hear that Polish couples are having many children is therefore heartening. No, they are not the same as the English, but they are genetic cousins, which might be the best for which I can hope at this time.

Anonymous said...

Why must this situation "force" teachers to communicate through interpreters. You either learn the English language or you miss out. Simple.

Quemielle DuChesne said...

In spite of the fact this is a "Catholic" school? The Vatican is a landless sovereign nation which cares not all for national boundaries and all Roman Catholics are dual citizens with divided loyalties!
The Vatican has allowed
this because they benefit from it!

Vince said...

@anonymous: well although they obviously have set up shop with their own grocery stores etc, generally they are similar to us. Now personally I don't agree with the economics of bringing in a cheap workforce regardless of race and have no issues of race as long as the immigrants meet the right criteria to get in ( which we should redefine). Things like mandatory ability to speak english, no entitlement to benefits etc.

But the plain and simple fact barring the eastern European criminals, that have come in most of them are nice, I know of at least six people who have dated eastern Europeans, and one of the girls from my class at uni was a lovely Latvian girl. In comparison I don't know anyone that has dated "asian" people. It's quite similar to the waves of Italian immigrants that have come here
over the years they melted into the populace.

I think the way a person looks and their culture makes a huge difference, if we take a European culture such as the Italian one, it's somewhat similar to ours. A child of a third generation immigrant from Italy, most likely looks and acts as a Brit. I have not heard of Italian ex pat communities. If we look at Jewish people essentially they could melt into the population quite easily, and it's only the practicing Jews that are marked as different because they maintain their Jewish culture.

A third or fourth generation Pakistani on the other hand on appearance still looks the same physically as a Pakistani from Pakistan. So without intermarriage the ability to look like the native populace is impossible. But the success of cultural integration may only be able to come about as a result of the complete embracing of the British culture as does happen.

If I take my own lineage, my grandfather was an Arab Muslim, but through intermarriage and then my parents being 3/4 White, I look like a native Brit. Growing up in a predominately White area and being White myself. However the two black girls and the two Pakistani children grew up to be fully integrated citizens and were nice kids. Even though this is the case people will obviously still look at them as different as is human nature I think.

Not sure if I've even come to a Logical conclusion here. But although race may not stop integration it may certainly be either a barrier or helping hand. At the same time ones culture is not defined by race.