by Ben Sowter
An interesting piece on British language education over the weekend, took me completely by surprise http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/07/anushka-asthana-french-language-education.
I had managed to completely miss the British government abandoning compulsory language education after 14 back in 2002. I know how many languages I would have taken to GCSE had I had the chance to choose, and much like the writer of this piece, I reflect on things wishing I had taken it a little more seriously. I now travel widely and find myself persistently apologizing for my lack of language skills, and everyon I meet, probably most of the readers of this blog are multi-lingual.
There are some deeper problems with British language education also – I was never taught French, in French and is French really the most pertinent language to be the natural second choice, whilst it may be the most helpful for casual trips to our neighbouring country, Spanish would seem more versatile, or Mandarin more business topical.
So with numbers having plummeted we have one more reason why the current and next batch of prospective university students will be even less open (or equipped) to take up international study opportunities.