Thursday, 4 June 2009

GCSE MFL a University requirement?

The BBC news website reported today that the British Academy is recommending that a GCSE in modern foreign languages should be a requirement for entry to University in the UK.

They have produced a report "Language Matters" in which they voice concerns that the future of the UK’s world class research base might be threatened by the decline in modern language learning and call for a series of measures by Universities and Government bodies to address this danger.

The report is quite short and to the point. It identifies reasons for language learning as "citizenship; communication; economic, social and political dimensions; democracy; diversity; employability; environmental sustainability; equal opportunities; globalisation; identity; intercultural competence; international dimension; key skills; language awareness; mobility; multilingualism; personal and social development of the individual; and values."

It recommends that "DIUS and DCSF should review language teaching and learning across all sectors to ensure a coherent system in which language learning begun at primary school has a natural progression for every student through HE and life-long language learning. The review should consider the syllabus, teaching methods and teacher supply as well as other ways of promoting language learning, such as careers advice".

This "natural progression" doesn't seem to have been taken into account by the DCSF. You can read about this in my previous posts about the New NC Attainment Targets below. (Although I now see where Attainment Target 3 came from!)

So, will it become a reality?

Well, UCL has already stated here that it will require a Languages GCSE from 2012 from all applicants and although the Russell Group Universities have no concrete plans to follow suit en masse, I believe that it will be just a matter of time, particularly because the British Academy recommends that students accepted to study at university without a Languages GCSE qualification should have to study a language as part of their degree course.

The universities will not want to employ extra staff and resources to teach beginners languages courses when almost every school in the UK has a languages department, will they?

The simple thing would be to make modern languages a requirement. It makes sense, doesn't it?

No comments: