Rural failure in English learning and the socioeconomics of ELT. Over 24 million children learn English as a second/foreign language in primary and secondary schools in Bangladesh. These children start learning the language as a required subject in Grade 1 and continue learning it (if they don't drop out) until Grade 12, and later at the tertiary level. Officially, they are taught English communicatively using Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) methodology, as it was envisaged that CLT would develop learners' ‘communicative competence’, and thereby strengthen the human resource development efforts of the Government of Bangladesh (NCTB, 2003). Nearly a decade has passed since CLT was first introduced in the national curriculum. It now seems appropriate to ask to what extent has it developed learners' competence and improved the declining standards of English in the country (Rahman, 1991).