Tuesday, 16 December 2008 9:40 PM

Foreign Language in School Curriculum?

The proposition to introduce foreign languages such as Spanish, Japanese and Chinese (mandarin) in the formal education curriculum to cater for a very few students who are offered scholarships to pursue higher education in a foreign country where the medium of instruction used is not English is debatable.

No-one denies the fact that our students who pursue studies in Cuba, Japan and Taiwan need to learn these languages and achieve a required level of proficiency in both verbal and written forms of the languages concern in order to help excel in their studies.

However, there are several factors that policy makers in our country would need to consider in order to decide whether or not to introduce a foreign language in the school curriculum.

According to language experts, the choice of what language to be studied, for what purpose, and at what level in the education system depend on political, social, cultural, and economic factors. In regards to the factors listed, there are several questions that need to be considered:
1) To what extent will the language selected promote national unity and contribute towards the developmental goals of the country?
2) What are the socio-cultural implications of the introduced languages on an individual and group identity?
3) To what extent will the language selected promote trade and economic development in the country?
4) Considering the barriers that English language currently have on learning in our schools, what are the implications if three additional foreign languages are introduced into the school curriculum?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Franco Rodi and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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