Fear over effects of the decline in language teaching

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Scottish schools, colleges, universities and overseas trade are all feeling the effects of a sharp decline in foreign language teaching, according to the British Council.

The number of pupils studying a second language at Standard grade has dropped from 100 per cent in 2001, when it was compulsory, to 67 per cent in 2001, the British Council stated in a report based
on its Europe-wide survey of language teaching. 

Moreover, the removal of most foreign language assistants from classrooms – in budget cuts – has dashed any chance to interact with native speakers.

Lloyd Anderson, director of the British Council in Scotland, said: “Something seems to be going backwards. Over the past 10 years things have gone from good to less good. This report appears to confirm our fear that Scotland could be missing out on export opportunities if we simply expect everyone to speak English.

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