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‘Economically Useful’ Languages for Pupils 2007-02-04

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest, Humanities.
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Teenagers in England & Wales are to be given the opportunity to learn ‘economically useful’ languages such as Mandarin alongside French and German, the UK Government has confirmed.

Secondary schools in England & Wales will be given greater freedom to teach a wider choice of languages as part of proposals to update the curriculum.

Ministers have asked ‘The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority‘ (‘The QCA’) to review what pupils aged 11/14 should study.

The Secretary of State for Education Mr.Alan Johnson is now likely to accept their recommendations that major world languages such as Mandarin and Urdu be offered alongside traditional favourites such as French, German and Spanish, ‘The Department for Education and Skills’ said.

  • The new programme of study will not stipulate which languages should be taught, but offer suggestions.

The change is in line with proposals from Lord Dearing, who was asked to investigate the collapse of language study in secondary schools that followed the Government’s decision to make it optional after age 14.

The Secretary of State for Education said in the global economy, Mandarin or Urdu could be ‘as important’ as EU languages. He said:

[Picture of Alan Johnson MP]
‘I plan to allow schools to offer their pupils major European and world languages on the same basis, using the new flexibilities to be delivered by the revised curriculum to ensure that tomorrow’s business leaders have the right skills to take advantage of every business opportunity, wherever it occurs.

‘Young people need to be aware that languages can make you attractive to employers — and more employable. We need to raise our game in languages in schools if we are to compete in an increasingly globalised economy.’

Secretary of State for Education said the 2012 Olympics presents an ‘even bigger opportunity’ to interest young people in learning languages. He added:

‘Learning a second language can increase your ability to learn a much wider range of concepts. They are a stepping stone to understanding other people and their cultures and can promote community cohesion.

‘These new measures are not about forcing students to do languages but taking on board Lord Dearing’s recommendations that we need to find a middle way for schools between freedom and prescription so that languages appeal to pupils of all abilities and aptitudes.’

The QCA’s wide-ranging review of ‘The Secondary Curriculum’ aims to give schools more flexibility to tailor their teaching to pupils’ needs. All 11/14-year-olds in England & Wales will continue to study the 12 existing subjects of ‘The National Curriculum’, but the review will revise programmes of study.

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