UK backs study of Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali languages

The UK government on Thursday made a fresh commitment to ensure community languages like Punjabi, Gujarati and Bengali continue to be offered within the country's school curriculum.

London: The UK government on Thursday made a fresh commitment to ensure community languages like Punjabi, Gujarati and Bengali continue to be offered within the country's school curriculum.

Exam boards had warned that there were a number of community languages which may not be continued at GCSE or A level, equivalent to India's Class 10 and 12.

But the government has stepped in to take action to work with the boards and the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) to make sure that a wide range of language subjects continue to be taught in the classroom.

"All pupils should have the opportunity to study foreign languages as part of a core academic curriculum that prepares them for life in modern Britain. This should extend to community languages," UK school reform minister Nick Gibb said in a statement.

"In an outward facing country such as Britain, it is important that we have high quality qualifications not just in French, German and Spanish but also in languages such as Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Polish and Turkish.

"To avoid any gap in provision of certain languages the government will, where necessary, compulsorily extend the time table for organisations to continue with existing qualifications until at least September 2018," he added.

Further announcements about the proposed government approach to secure community language studies will be made later in the year.

The Department for Education said there are considerable benefits to learning a second language and therefore the government is keen to preserve a wide range of languages being taught.

"Interest in studying languages remains high with the number of pupils entering for a modern language GCSE rising by 20 per cent since 2010," it added.

As well as speaking to exam boards, the government has been meeting representatives from embassies and communities, including supplementary schools, to hear their concerns and discuss ways to resolve the issue.

 

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