[lg policy] UK; Academy and business aim to reforge language supply chain

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 4 13:41:57 UTC 2013

Academy and business aim to reforge language supply chain


Born Global research looks to bridge gap between supply and demand

[image: Red and metal chain links]

The British Academy has joined forces with the CBI, the British Chambers of
Commerce, the Education and Employers Taskforce and leading businesses to
steer a major research programme designed to rescue the country from “a
colourless monoglot future”.

Born Global: Rethinking Language Policy for 21st Century Britain, which
will run until July 2015, is designed to bridge the yawning gap between
“years of declining capability in language competence in education” and
“recurrent reports of high levels of employer demand for language skills”.

It hopes to “inform government language policy development, the current
national curriculum review for England and future developments in higher
education language curricula and assessment”.
‘Co-owners’ of education

At the university level, the numbers studying languages have been falling
for years.

Ucas figures for “placed applicants by subject group” show a decline of
close to 11 per cent for European languages between 2009 and 2013 (from
4,130 to 3,680) and around 16.5 per cent for non-European languages (from
1,340 to 1,120).

Richard Hardie, non-executive chair of financial services firm UBS, is
chair of the Born Global steering group.

Launching the project at the company’s London headquarters on 23 September,
he spoke of “the need to fix the language supply chain into education” and
for employers to become “co-owners of the educational


The data now being gathered by Born Global should certainly help “rescue
future generations from a colourless monoglot future”, he added.

Principal researcher Bernardette Holmes, a programme director at the
University of Cambridge’s Language Centre, noted that the British language
deficit meant that UK employers often looked overseas when recruiting vital

The scholar asked: “Are our young people only fit for lower-grade jobs?”

With the British Chambers of Commerce wanting to “ensure that the next
generation of business owners are ‘born global’”, it was time “to make the
rhetoric count” through “a research-informed strategy”, she argued.
Compare and contrast

Born Global will consult with “a representative sample of employers over a
two-year period” in order to “elaborate a conceptual framework to map
language competence, identifying the range of knowledge, skills and
understanding required to function effectively from administrative to
executive levels”, according to an information pack on the project.

It will also follow a sample of young people with language qualifications
at GCSE level, A level and university, and “compare their employment
outcomes in areas such as earnings and employment periods” with people from
similar backgrounds and attainment who lack such qualifications.

matthew.reisz at tsleducation.com


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