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Scottish Government's strategy for language teaching is unworkable

THE Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) is right to cast doubts over the Scottish Government's strategy of increasing language learning in our schools ("Languages class target unachievable", The Herald, February 21).

It grieves me to express that opinion, for the lack of language competency or excellence in many areas of Scottish life is such that any reasonable person would wish to back plans to increase and improve language learning.

But what is the present situation? In our primary schools, the provision of foreign language teaching is patchy and in the main provided by one teacher once a week.

To go from that highly unsatisfactory position to one of having all our primary pupils moving on to secondary with two well established languages other than English under their belts, is not even a pipe dream, it's a nonsense in the present and in the foreseeable future..

Were there enough trained teachers with assistants and rich resources, a good question would be to ask what would be dropped from an already stretched curriculum?

Some people long out of the classroom would be astonished to observe the range of subjects taught in our primary schools and in secondary schools.

Some 50 years ago, many of our more academic pupils took five Highers, one of which would be a foreign language. That is no longer the case.

I would be concerned if, in an independent Scotland there were a need for many more linguists, we might not be able to arrest the present decrease.

It is interesting for me, living near a huge college of further education, to see little sign of language acquisition by daytime students, nor any cross-curricular studies involving languages.

If the Scottish Government is serious about further education also getting in on the act, it has a lot of work to do there.

Alasdair Sutherland,

2 Quarry Park,

East Kilbride.

Contextual targeting label: 
Education

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