Thursday, August 21, 2008

Language study in England

Murdoch's Times reports:

A North-South divide is opening up in the study of modern foreign languages at GCSE, figures suggest.

In more than 100 of the 150 local authorities in England fewer than half of 16-year-olds took a GCSE in a modern foreign language. In ten areas, mostly in the North, more than three quarters of teenagers are dropping language study at GCSE, according to the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

I wonder what percentage of English people who take a foreign language at GCSE level, rather than A level, actually acquire more than a smattering of it. Here in the Swiss Alps, it is the rare British tourist (and British tourists are not rare), who can order a restaurant meal in French or German. Then again, they don't need to, and they know they don't need to.