Learning a foreign language is not mandatory
The main problem remains that the government does not make learning foreign languages mandatory, he said. There are no signs of a change of course here either. It is comparatively more difficult to get a good grade in the final exam in a foreign language. GPA plays an important role in your subsequent educational career. Therefore, a reintroduction of compulsory foreign language teaching would be unpopular. And German is considered especially difficult.
It is even more important and better “that initiatives are now being started,” said the director of the cultural institute and was cautiously optimistic. The economic consequences of Brexit, which are now becoming evident, have led the government in London to rethink the situation.
Several initiatives now aim to stop the downward trend, not only in German, but French has also been in decline for years, although not so dramatically. The government wants to counter this trend with a National Consortium for Language Education (NCLE) led by University College London. In England, 25 schools will become foreign language teaching centres, which will have an impact on other teaching centres.
Germany as bilateral partner
London will make available 14.9 million pounds (about 17.4 million euros) for the next three years. The German plays a special role in the initiative with a special budget. Von Ruckteschell-Katte also sees this as a sign that Germany is becoming increasingly important to Britain as a bilateral partner within Europe. The Goethe-Institut is responsible for the implementation of the program with the GIMAGINE project, aimed at schools, teachers and students, including motivation programs, material and meeting organization. The starting signal for this will be in October.
At the same time, the government has revived a scholarship program that, among other things, aims to attract future German teachers to Britain. The British Council said between 20 and 30 applicants were likely to be successful this year.
It will probably only be clear in the coming years whether the initiatives will bear fruit. There is at least reason to be optimistic that the Goethe-Institut will once again see growing demand for its in-house language courses after years of decline. The courses are aimed at adults, who at least seem to be interested in German again. It remains to be seen whether this is contagious.
“Bacon nerd. Extreme zombie scholar. Hipster-friendly alcohol fanatic. Subtly charming problem solver. Introvert.”