Learning Language Post Brexit
Although there is uncertainty about Brexit, and the route the UK will go down to fulfil its commitment to the British electorate, a further question has arisen in relation to the role languages will play in Brexit’s aftermath.
Some fervent Brexiteers may argue that after the 29th of March, or whenever we leave the Union, there will no longer be a paramount need for EU and other languages to be taught, as our reliance on them will become diminished. This line of logic could not be further from the truth.
Language skills have been key throughout our history as one of the tools that resulted in economic and diplomatic success. Only around 6% of the world’s population utilize English as their native language, and 75% speak no English at all.
In a world of digital content, the use of English has declined from half the worlds’ social media content in 2000, to less than a quarter now. Arabic is now the most popular language on this medium, whilst Chinese accounts for a presence of over 20%.
Unfortunately, there has also been a decline during this time in the learning of languages within the British education system. Since 2000, over 50 universities have scrapped all or some of their modern language courses. Only 9% of 15 year olds are now competent in a first foreign language beyond a very basic level, compared with 42% of teenagers in 14 other European countries. Recent figures show in 1999, 342,227 pupils took GCSE French while last year the number was just 126,750. A-level figures show the drop is over 5%.
Over 70% of UK employers say they’re unhappy with the foreign language skills of British school leavers and graduates and are forced to recruit from overseas to meet their needs. British businesses who make use of languages report 43% higher export/turnovers ratios than those that do not.
Prime Production are a leading figure in the translation industry, translating over 1.5 million words per month and providing 90% repeat business to its clients, including the United Nations and its various agencies and the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).
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