From education to employment

Celebration of linguistics

Colleges in South East England look set to buck the trend of a “terminal decline in language studies” through the forthcoming European Day of Languages.

The sixth annual event, taking place on 26th September, aims to reaffirm the importance of learning languages throughout life. The message goes out to existing student populations and the wider community, including local residents and businesses, urging everyone to improve their linguistic and cultural understanding.

“The colleges” approach to European Languages” Day is testament to the competent manner in which they approach our global future”, explains Alan Corbett, Association of South East Colleges (AOSEC)representative.

“It is absolutely right that we celebrate our linguistic capabilities and use these skills to carve a future of prosperity, bringing jobs and wealth to the region”.

Speaking on behalf of the Intercultural Dialogue of the Council of Europe, Coordinator, Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, comments: “The ability to communicate in the languages of others, and to better understand other cultures is not only an invaluable asset, but a clear necessity for individuals and society today”.

“The importance of intercultural understanding and dialogue cannot be emphasised enough in the light of world events”, she continued.

The colleges have organised a host of European-style activities centred primarily on motivating non-linguists to understand a new language. Alongside this, the events are designed to encourage a broader exploration and appreciation of other cultures.

The celebrations include a day trip to France, a guided tour of Cherbourg, and European film screenings throughout the day at Portsmouth College. Aylesbury College is hosting a community open day with the local radio and media; Canterbury College will offer European lunchtime cuisine, and Barton Peveril College has organised language students to tour the school educating non-linguists with useful everyday expressions and phases.

The success of these, and other initiatives, all designed to celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity across Europe has attracted other continents to get involved, including the United States in 2005, and Africa in 2006.

Leona Baldwin.

Next week on FE News: The vocational/academic skills debate ““ we ask six FE leaders what they think

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