The sad decline of languages in UK schools

I mean the decline of taught, modern foreign languages, not sweary bad language (I’m sure that’s probably still learnt and applied with enthusiasm).

This article in the Guardian, Who still wants to learn languages?, raises a few key points from recent studies, as well as interesting observations. In summary:

Funding for languages has been cut and departments are closing across the education spectrum, from schools to universities. Since language learning was made optional after the age of 14 in 2004,  numbers have been dropping. (Just in state schools? The article’s not clear.) There’s a sharp distinction between provision at state schools and at independents (“38 per cent of 14-year-olds in the state sector were studying one modern language and 1.9 per cent were studying two; 99 per cent of 14-year-olds at independents studied at least one language”). As a result, “the experience of other cultures is now confined to an elite”. Languages are losing out in the (short-term) education market because they are a long-term choice in terms of …

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