Schools should teach a wider range of languages, says MP

Schools should start offering pupils a wider choice of languages to help Britain compete in the world of business, Shrewsbury's MP has said.

Daniel Kawczynski said he would be writing to the Prime Minister asking for at least one non-European language to be included on the school curriculum, saying that in years to come Asian languages will be increasingly important.

The Shrewsbury and Atcham MP said he was particularly keen to see schools offering lessons in Japanese, which he said would be of growing importance in post-Brexit Britain.

But he said Portuguese, which was the official language of Brazil, would also become a much more important language too.

"At the moment, schools are teaching French, Spanish and German, all European languages, but as we all know, Europe is getting smaller, both in terms of population, and of GDP," he said.

"I feel it is wrong that all the options are European in a post-Brexit context, I feel we need to be having non-European languages as an option for children."

Partnerships

Mr Kawczynski said Britain's application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership meant that in future there were likely to be closer ties between Britain and the Far East. He said the West would also need to strengthen ties with democracies in Asia to counter growing expansionism from China.

"Britain is going to be very different in 20, 30 or 40 years time," he said.

"Now that we have left the EU and are creating exceptionally strong global economic and military partnerships with key non-European partners like Japan, the time has come for a debate as to which languages are taught to our children in schools.

"I think the domination of French, Spanish and German in our schools needs to be challenged. There should be at least one non-European option, we can have a debate about which language that would be, but I will be writing to the Prime Minister asking him to at least consider it."

Mr Kawczynski, who was born in Poland, said his own experiences had shown him how important languages were in understanding people and cultures from other countries.

"When somebody from Japan or Brazil does business with someone in Britain, they expect to speak in English," he added. "If a businessman would be able to speak to them in their own language, it would give a great competitive advantage."

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