According to the latest British Council research, titled “Language Trends Report 2019” students and parents alike consider foreign languages a less useful life skill. The main cause for the fall in interest when it comes to language studies is Brexit and the eventual separation of the United Kingdom and the European Union.
Schools have also raised questions about the possible repercussions of an exit from the European Union. There are speculations that in the event of a hard exit, schools will have a hard time finding native speakers to teach foreign language classes. While there are initiatives, which aim to provide an education stripped from political charge, Brexit is a significant event, which will have a major effect on all aspects of education in the United Kingdom.
According to the British Council discoveries, about twenty-five percent (25%) of British schools have reported a decrease in interest in language studies, as a result of Brexit negotiations.
A British teacher shared his thoughts on the matter with the researches and said:
Some students see no use to languages (particularly pupil premium students) as they have never been abroad and probably never will. Since the Brexit vote, there has also been a shift in attitudes.
In terms of foreign teachers, not only in the languages department, the report details that more than sixty percent (67%) of state schools and around 80 percent (79%) of private educational institutions are employing at least one EU citizen, who is not British.
This is a concerning trend, as this shift in the thinking of a whole generation will have an effect on the future of British politics and life in general. A decrease in interest in foreign languages is a potential cause for concern because this can easily lead to a more conservative foreign policy once the current students become ministers and parliamentary figures.