UK govt says schools should teach Mandarin to all teenagers

Every teenager should have the chance to learn Mandarin due to the growing importance of China in world events, according to the UK government. One in seven secondary schools, which teach pupils aged 11-16, currently offer Mandarin and Schools Secretary Ed Balls said he wanted to extend this through language partnerships between schools.

From the BBC website this week:

All secondary school pupils in England should have the chance to learn a less familiar language such as Mandarin, says Children’s Secretary Ed Balls.

Mandarin has become increasingly popular in schools – with one in seven now teaching the subject.

Making it more widely available is an cialis order “aspiration” rather than a pledge – and could mean schools and colleges sharing specialist language

teaching staff.

Mr Balls highlighted the economic importance of learning languages.

As well as Mandarin, he pointed to the growing importance of Portuguese for trading with Brazil, Spanish in Argentina and Bahasa Indonesia in Indonesia.

Emerging economies

“A growing number of schools are now teaching Mandarin and in the coming years I think we will see this subject sitting alongside French, Spanish and German as one of the most popular languages for young people to learn,” said Mr Balls.

“In this new decade our ties with emerging economies like China will become even more important and it’s vital that young people are equipped with the skills which they need, and British businesses need too, in order to succeed in a rapidly-changing world,” he said.

So what is the New Zealand government’s stance?

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How does knowing another language make you more money?

Times are tough. People are worried that they might lose their jobs as the unemployment rate starts creeping up. Job summit or no job summit. As always, during difficult times, the ones worst hit are the ones who are lacking in qualifications and experience.

It's time to upskill. It seems university enrolments are up around the country, according to various local news articles.  Recent graduates who can't find work are going back to university. But so are many students looking at gaining more qualifications in order to keep pace with developments.

During such perilous times, it's important to understand what skills are in demand and how to stand out from the crowd. In New Zealand, where almost all native English speakers can only speak one language, knowing some basic foreign language can indeed be an advantage. Most of all you demonstrate to prospective employers that you have the ability to persevere with something as well as the ability to work across cultures. As New Zealand becomes more and more multicultural, the ability to communicate across cultures will be as essential as knowing how to use a computer.

New Zealand is an exporting nation. We would be poorer than Samoa or Tonga if we didn't trade with our friends, and foreign tourists stop arriving. There are in fact more Chinese and Spanish speakers than there are English speakers.  Naturally, these are key languages to learn if one wants to learn how to communicate with our future customers.

But learning any language is useful. New Zealanders have traditionally learnt French, German and Japanese at

school. Knowing any one of these languages would be useful. I have written at length about why one should learn each one of these languages, so feel free to check out my blog entries on why learn language

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