Les Britanniques apprennent de moins en moins les langues étrangères : la recherche de niveau mondial mise en danger au Royaume-Uni

« British Academy raises new concerns over decline in language learning »
jeudi 2 juillet 2009

Message transmis par Terry Lamb, président de la FIPLV.

A report issued yesterday (3 June 2009) by the British Academy raises concerns that the future of the UK´s world class research base might be threatened by the decline in modern language learning and calls for a series of measures by Universities and Government bodies to address this danger. The report « Language Matters » follows a year-long study into the effect the fall in modern language learning is having in
research fields, especially in humanities and social sciences disciplines, for which the Academy speaks. It is informed by specially commissioned research into the impact this may already be having in UK universities.

The Academy concludes that the declining language skills are damaging
the education system in a number of ways :

- it is having a harmful impact on the ability of UK-born and UK- educated researchers to compete with their counterparts from overseas

- it works against efforts to ensure that the UK is a world-class hub of research, which in turn is damaging to the UK´s economy

- it affects the UK´s ability to address many of the most urgent
global challenges

- it is damaging the health of humanities and social science research.

The report states : « In a world of research that is global, these serious shortcomings and deficits undermine the Government´s objective of positioning the UK as a hub of international research. » Research commissioned from RAND Europe showed that universities are addressing this skills shortage by buying in the skills they need from abroad, rather than by helping UK researchers and academics to `upskill´.

The Minister for Higher Education, the Rt Hon David Lammy MP, was among the speakers at the launch event for the report on 3 June. The British Academy welcomes the Government´s recent initiative to encourage language learning in primary schools, but says « there is an urgent need for a joined-up approach on the part of Government Departments » and calls on the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) "to
develop a more coherent and coordinated approach to the problem."

The report also calls on Universities to consider bringing in a language requirement for university entry, following the lead taken recently taken by University College, London, or to ensure that students at least leave with a language qualification.

The report is available from :

The British Academy, 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH
Tel : 020 7969 5200, Fax : 020 7969 5300, Web : www.britac.ac.uk

Dr Terry LAMB
Senior Lecturer in Education

Director of Teaching
Director, MA in Applied Professional Studies in Education
University of Sheffield

President, FIPLV (Fédération Internationale des Professeurs de Langues
Chief Editor, International Journal of Innovation in Language Learning and

School of Education
The Education Building
388 Glossop Road
S10 2JA

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