Spanish 2nd favoured foreign language in Britain

Spanish 2nd favoured foreign language in Britain

Spanish has been favoured as the second language in the US and Brazil but it has seen a drop in interest in the UK despite its status as the 2nd favoured foreign language in Britain.

A report said that the number of British students learning Spanish in primary and secondary schools has dropped by 2 percent to 88,022 over the last five years, albeit not as much as a 30-percent decline in those studying French at 117,046 and German at 42,296.

The report said that the level of difficulty of examinations was one of the factors accounted for the drop.

The report said that teachers at low-income schools were said to be more concerned about parents persuading children not to pursue languages than the lack of resources available for them.

Drop in learning foreign language in Britain

In the General Certificate of Education (GCSE) level, the number of persons seeking to take a foreign language class has fallen by 19 percent since 2014, with German language studies suffering a 16-percent drop in enrollees.

“Twenty-five percent of teachers in secondary state education and 15 percent in private education are aware of the negative impact on the students regarding motivation to learn a European language or a foreign language in general,” the report said.

In his comment, Mark Levy, British Council head of English programs in Madrid said: “Languages are not being given priority in a curriculum which is already very packed, with increasingly fewer teachers trained in foreign language teaching, fewer international exchanges and external language exams that are considered more difficult than other subjects.”

According to the British Council report, all factors combine to affect students who are more academically challenged.

“The British Council and the British Academy have already taken significant action, with the British Academy getting a parliamentary commission to spearhead an initiative for a national strategy to support language learning,” Levy said.

One of the commission’s aims is to get 95 percent of students to take at least one language test at GCSE level by 2025.

Photo by VanveenJF

Angelica is a reporter for Global Education Times with a focus on the ‘business of education’, and on Asia-Pacific and South American education affairs. An experienced journalist, Angelica also writes for the oldest English newspaper in the Philippines, The Manila Times, as the publication’s business correspondent.
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