22/03/2012

All School Children Should Learn Foreign Languages

A House of Lords committee has said that all primary and secondary school children should be learning a foreign language.

According to the committee the UK’s attitude to languages has prevented its students from studying in Europe. They say that the UK has been a popular destination for EU students looking to improve their English, but it is now facing competition.

Languages are not compulsory in English and Welsh schools after the age of 14, a review of the curriculum in England is currently taking place.

The Lords' committee blamed "monoglot" (speaking just one language) attitudes for too few British students are taking part in schemes designed to encourage movement among students in the EU.

Students in France, Germany and Spain were three times as likely as those in Britain to take part in an EU programme called Erasmus, where students can study or work abroad as part of their degree, the committee said.

"The government must place higher education at the heart of their growth agenda in order to maintain and contribute to the economic and social wealth of the UK and Europe as a whole,” said committee chairman Baroness Young.

"In the immediate few months, this will require the government to negotiate ambitiously to allocate a greater proportion of the long-term EU budget to research, innovation and education."

(H/GK)


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