Here at Lingua Translations we’re disappointed to hear the news reported by the BBC yesterday that the Welsh Assembly intends to cut language learning cash by two thirds for the (CILT) from April this year.
Recent reports state that the number of pupils applying for language degrees in Wales is already down by a third from 12,826 in 2005, to 8,601 in 2013. So it’s safe to say that this a worrying blow for the youngsters in Wales who are growing up in an ever competitive global market where language skills is of growing importance to succeeding in the workplace.
With some current job opportunities in Wales already remaining unfilled due to a lack of language skills, this decision by the Welsh Assembly to cut funding for promoting foreign language learning is a worrying and confusing one. It is already widely acknowledged that early exposure to language learning aids not only language retention but other skills such as improved memory, multi tasking ability and an improvement of the use of English grammar. However, a survey published by the European Commission states that the British are currently officially the worst language learners in Europe, with only 38% of British population surveyed able to speak at least one foreign language, compared to 56% of people in the rest of the EU.
The current modern foreign language crisis is not a new phenomenon. Lingua Translations’ MD Sharon Stephens identified the need for language learning services for children some time ago creating the Lingua Translations Academy. By sharing her passion for languages through a series of interactive and communication based sessions for 3 to 10 year olds, the Lingua Translations Academy aims to act as a catalyst to spark an early interest in, and appreciation of, language and culture and to make a positive difference by ensuring the next generation can equal or exceed the linguistic attainments of other countries.
What do you think about the Welsh Assembly’s decision to cut funding to the organisation that promotes language learning? How do you rate the importance of language learning for younger children? We’d love to hear from you, so join the debate and let us know.