Languages in the UK - A Call for Action

Monday 4 March 2019

Britiah Academy Report'The UK has the potential to become a linguistic powerhouse. If it did, it would be more prosperous, productive, influential, innovative, knowledgeable, culturally richer, more socially cohesive, and, quite literally, healthier. To achieve this, concerted and coordinated action is needed, beginning with a systematic policy approach across all sectors of education, but extending across social, economic, and international policy.' This is the conclusion of a report just published by the British Academy,  the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Royal Society. 

The report argues that in our globalized world, there is even an element of truth in the claim that ‘monolingualism is the illiteracy of the 21st century’, and that if we want to enhance both our engagement with the rest of the world and our national social cohesion, we need our citizens to be better at languages other than English and to value them more highly—European, Asian, Middle Eastern, African, South American, and indigenous UK languages (such as Scots, Gaelic, and Welsh).

The four UK-wide National Academies recognise the need and benefits of action and call on the Government to: 

1. Engage with the coalition of organisations who stand willing to explore the steps needed; and
2. Adopt and implement a national strategy for languages.

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