A new program, launched by the U.S. Department of Education on Monday, offers students who can’t read or write in English a chance to complete a new certification to help them gain a more thorough understanding of the language.
As part of the program, students who need help with basic grammar, vocabulary and reading comprehension will be required to complete six online courses and receive feedback on their progress throughout.
The aim is to give students who have mastered English a foundation in the language that will enable them to achieve their educational goals in the future.
As of this week, the program has been available for two-thirds of the schools in the country.
“In the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of people who need a second language, so it’s important that we provide them with opportunities to get a basic grasp of the vocabulary,” said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a statement.
“It’s especially important for children who are learning a second culture, who are not fluent in the native language of their home country, who may be struggling with some of the basic vocabulary, to be able to have the kind of feedback that can help them better understand and gain a deeper understanding of what they’re learning in this second language.”
The program has attracted criticism, however, as the government has failed to make any progress in creating a new credential for students who are unable to read or understand English.
Critics have accused the government of creating a separate certification program for people who have an inability to read English or write.
A spokesman for the Department of State said that it would not comment on the program.
The spokesman also said that no one has been certified through the program to date.