Faith school

School Children with a second language are a national asset

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 07:44 GMT Jump to Comments

The latest figures from the Department for Education show 1.1 million UK school children now speak English as a second language. We must capitalise on this asset.

Now the Association of Translation Companies (ATC) has spoken out about the much-needed skills that these bilinguists will bring to the UK economy.

Geoffrey Bowden, General Secretary of the ATC, says: “With the decline in the number of UK students studying foreign languages at higher level, we should be encouraging the spread of language diversity, not fearing it.

"Children with English as a second language are more likely to perform well at school compared to monolingual pupils. Our home-grown talent in languages other than English, however, will not be enough to accommodate the needs of the UK economy. 

"Exporters who do business in the local language will always win out over an exporter who only can communicate in English. We must recognise the value that those with a second language can have in reinforcing our diminishing language skills.”

Lack of language skills is having a damaging affect on the ability of our businesses to export. A recent report to UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) by James Foreman-Peck and Yi Wang of Cardiff University estimates the consequential loss to be approximately 3.5% of our GDP.

“The UK has a growing pool of language talent provided through immigration from the world’s leading and emerging markets. With so little interest amongst British people at present in learning languages, we must encourage those with a second language to support our export ambitions and our businesses’ aims abroad,” Bowden concludes.

 

 

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