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Language opportunities to open doors

Language opportunities to open doors

Plaid Cymru unveils plans to normalise multilingualism

The Party of Wales has unveiled plans to introduce a third modern language in primary school. The party’s Shadow Education Minister Simon Thomas has launched a discussion paper outlining Plaid Cymru’s ambitions to offer young people more educational pathways to learn languages, which are proven to provide social, economic and personal benefits.

Click here to see the paper.

The paper looks to European models where learning multiple languages from an early age is normal. Mr Thomas said that in the majority of countries learning at least two foreign languages for at least one year during compulsory education is an obligation for all pupils.

He said that employers have highlighted Modern Foreign Languages as a skills gap, and said that better provision could increase employment opportunities.

The paper also looks at provisions to improve the teaching of the Welsh language, and recommends a switch of resources from Welsh as a Second Language to bilingual teaching during the Foundation Phase.

The Party of Wales Shadow Education Minister Simon Thomas said:

“There is much evidence that shows a growing deficit in foreign language skills. Employers tell us that while they count languages as an important skill, they cannot recruit enough staff with strong language skills. This is particularly relevant in a global economy where the demand for language skills is expanding.

“In most countries, learning at least two additional languages is compulsory for pupils. Research shows that being proficient in at least two languages has developmental benefits for a child, while it also brings about economic benefits by opening up job opportunities, strengthening our workforce and making us more resilient in a global economy.

“We also want to improve the teaching of Welsh. At the moment, up to half of students who study Welsh as a Second Language do not consider themselves to be Welsh speakers at the end of the course. Introducing Welsh as part of the Foundation Phase is proven to have a beneficial effect.”

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