1 January, 2014: Making foreign study more readily available for school and university-aged British students might be an effective solution to solving the slump in foreign language learning that the United Kingdom is currently experiencing among its young adults.
In fact, recent studies have placed Great Britain at the very bottom of the list of European countries that fluent foreign language-speaking students. Recently, a similar statistic highlighted another aspect of this problem, by revealing a decrease of approximately 14 percent in the number of people seeking admittance to, and being accepted for, university courses involving languages.
The disparity is even more severe once the study moves outside of European languages. Despite common knowledge placing languages such as Chinese, Japanese and Arabic as the languages of the future, the already limited number of people studying them within the United Kingdom has similarly been dwindling at a steady pace in the past few years.
According to sources close to language learning schools and institutions, there are a number of reasonable explanations for this trend, including but not limited to the hike in tuition fees and certain reforms that have come into effect within the British education system in recent years.
Additional figures collated by a number of surveys over the past ten years reveal that fewer and fewer pupils have been taking proficiency tests in foreign languages as part of their GCSE exams, as a result of the government revising statutes that made learning a foreign language mandatory for schoolchildren.
An attempt to correct this trend has recently taken place, with the rule being revised to make language learning mandatory for children seven to eleven years of age, as well as introduce a Baccalaureat to recognise students who achieve at least a C-level in foreign languages. However, the downward slump is still evident, so parents and teachers wanting to reverse this trend might do well to look towards foreign study and immersion study in particular as a potential solution.
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