Benefits of learning a foreign language
It is a shame to hear that there has been such a marked decline in the teaching and learning of modern foreign languages in UK secondary schools. Of course the skill of learning another language and the ability to use another language does increase the competitive edge of students and does introduce cultural awareness but perhaps it also offers something more.
If a student has learnt a modern foreign language during their school years, they are more likely to approach the opportunity to learn another language in the future in a positive way.
Students today, facing an unknown future and seeking to develop skills which help them to adapt and be flexible in the face of a largely unknown future work environment, would learn a lot from the experience of learning another language. In the future, those skills might be employed in a number of ways, including having the confidence to tackle the learning of a different foreign language.
Perhaps universities need to offer students some sort of additional credit when assessing their applications if they have studied a modern foreign language. If students perceive an additional language as a ‘high-risk’ choice in terms of success in achieving the required grades to gain admission to university, there needs to be an incentive to convince students a modern foreign language is still a worthwhile choice. It is not a benefit to the UK to have fewer speakers of foreign languages, given the language proficiency of neighboring countries.