Scotland Minister to Meet with Diplomats to Discuss Language Issue

In the January issue, Language Magazine published an article on Britain’s shrinking Foreign Language Assistants Program. Scotland, in particular, had the most drastic decreases. In a follow up article on the issue, the BBC reported that the Scottish government would be meeting to discuss the affects of the 80% drop in language assistants over the past six years.

Scotland’s Minister for Learning, Alasdair Allan, is schedule to meet with the Edinburgh Consuls General and the Convention of Local Scottish Authorities (COSLA) later this month.

“This government fully recognizes that foreign language assistants make a valuable contribution to Scottish schools, enhancing classroom learning and providing a cost-effective complement to language learning,” Allan said in an article by the BBC.

To improve language learning in Scotland’s schools, Scotland’s Language Working Group is conducting a study. The Language Working
Groups first met in November 2009, following recommendations from the Scots Language Conference that was held earlier that year. The objectives of the group include laying out a clear vision for the Scots, to remain realistic in the planning process, and to look for linkage between the Scottish government and other parts of the world.

Many applaud the government for meeting to discuss this dire issue.

“Our most senior business leaders are clear that foreign language assistants have an important role to play in equipping our young people not just with the good language skills so vital in the 21st Century, but also with a cultural awareness that comes from direct interaction with people from other countries,” said Lloyd Anderson, director of the British Council Scotland that promotes educational and cultural interactions. “These skills will be increasingly important for our future prosperity.”

To read the original story in the BBC, click here.