World

Chinese Highlight of Dismal K–12 Enrollment Survey

Stressed college student for exam in classroom
The recently released National K–12 Foreign Language Enrollment Survey Report shows that a total of 10.6 million U.S. students ranging from kindergarten to twelfth grade are studying a world language, accounting for only about 20% of U.S. school children. As this is a first-of-its-kind comprehensive study of world language enrollments across the formal U.S. education system, it is not possible...

Dutch Shares Stage With Frisian in European Parliament

Flag of Friesland of Netherlands
European Parliament is dedicating a session to Europe’s minority languages, and Frisian is getting its big debut on the Parliament floor, according to Dutch News. The Frisian languages are a closely related group of Germanic languages, and has about 500,000 speakers who live in the Netherlands and Germany. There are...

Russian Retreat in Ukraine

The Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada) has passed a bill requiring that 75% of national television programming and 50% of local broadcasting be in the Ukrainian language. The law follows an unpopular move by President Poroshenko to ban Russian-language social media websites, such as Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki. Next on the linguistic...

Canada Boosts Support for French in the Territories

Major funding increases for Francophone communities in the western Canadian territories of Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut have been announced. For more than three decades, the Government of Canada has supported the implementation of territorial legislation for services in French. In late 2016–17, agreements were signed with each of the territorial partners that significantly expand federal financial support...

Opposition to Puerto Rico’s Schools Cuts

Last month, the presidents of the American Federation of Teachers and the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (the Puerto Rico Teachers Association) co-signed a letter to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, describing the harmful impact of the deep education cuts over the past decade and the devastating consequences additional proposed reductions would have on students and Puerto Rico’s future.

UK Push to Train Language Teachers

Despite Brexit–or maybe because of it–there is a desperate shortage of world language teachers in the UK, so the government is launching a program to train native speakers of French, German, and Spanish to become teachers. The plan is to create opportunities for people with linguistic skills, whether they are living in the UK or elsewhere in Europe. “There may be people who speak French, German, or Spanish – in the UK or abroad – who would like to consider a career change and go into teaching,” said Gaynor Jones, director of the National Modern Languages SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training). “For some, it could be an opportunity to experience a different culture as well as using their talents for the benefit of students keen to learn a new language.

Court Seeks to Restore Ukrainian in Crimea

From 2013 to 2016, the number of students in Crimea in classes with Ukrainian as the language of instruction dropped from 13,589 to just 371 in 2016, according to a report by the Crimean Human Rights Group, an independent organization, citing data from Crimea’s Education Ministry. Human Rights Watch, a well-respected, nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization, spoke to parents who said that officials of the schools their children attend pressured them not to enroll their children in classes with Ukrainian as the language of instruction and then cut those classes from the curriculum because there allegedly were not enough pupils.

Quebec French Tests Challenged

Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, Diversity, and Inclusiveness has been accused of using French test results as an excuse to violate the constitutional rights of more than 500 international students. Fo Niemi, director of the Montreal-based Centre for Research Action on Race Relations (CRARR), claimed most of the students whose French skills are being questioned come from China, India, or the...

Hong Kong Asked to Prove Mandarin Instruction Works

Hong Kong’s Audit Commission has asked the Education Bureau to prove the effectiveness of using Standard Mandarin (or Putonghua) as the medium of instruction in Chinese language classes before making it mandatory for all elementary and high schools in the city. According to the latest report by the commission on the bureau’s HK$8 billion Language Fund, the bureau spent HK$225...

Calls to Promote and Protect Arabic

In Abu Dhabi, Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, told the Federal National Council (FNC)-the legislature of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)- that he supported initiatives aimed at promoting Arabic language in UAE society. The FNC adopted a motion to re-issue legislation and rules necessary for protecting the Arabic language. Concerned over the lack...