[lg policy] Ireland: Integrated and coherent language education policy needed
hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 30 15:49:25 UTC 2011
Integrated and coherent language education policy needed
Monday, 26 September 2011
On the tenth anniversary of the European Day of languages today, IBEC,
the group that represents Irish business, called on the Department of
Education and Skills to introduce a national language policy to
provide an integrated and coherent approach to language education.
IBEC head of education policy Tony Donohoe said: “Over 75% of the
world’s population do not speak English and only 9% speak English as
their first language. If we neglect to ensure adequate availability of
foreign language skills in Ireland, the opportunities of this global
market will not be realised.
“We must continue to develop our foreign language skills to ensure
that we are not at a competitive disadvantage in terms of our ability
to attract foreign direct investment of the future. Even in a deep
economic downturn, we see large numbers of unfilled job vacancies that
require modern languages.
“Despite a series of initiatives at primary and secondary level and a
wide range of languages already on the curriculum, it has been
extremely difficult to encourage take-up of new languages.
“The national language policy should explicitly encourage
diversification of foreign language provision, based on an extensive
analysis of the country’s present and future language needs.
policy that encourages the inclusion of languages other
than Irish in our primary and secondary schools
an integrated language curriculum, rather than the current
series of language curricula that are largely independent of each
criteria by which to manage diversification, whether it
involves introducing new languages or taking advantage of the pool of
foreign language capability created by a more multicultural
“Four years ago, the European Council’s Language Policy Division
warned that Ireland’s main challenge was to move away from an
‘unofficial but lame bilingualism’ to become a truly multilingual
society where the ability to learn and use two and more languages is
taken for granted and fostered at every stage of the education system
and through lifelong education,” concluded Mr Donohoe.
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