Beggs Urges O’Dowd Rethink over Primary Modern Language Funding

Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman Roy Beggs MLA has spoken of the need to continue to fund the Primary Modern language Programme, which is earmarked to finish on the 31st March.

Roy Beggs MLA said “having been contacted by constituents in relation to the provision for primary school modern languages, I have been advised that this service is due to be axed from the 31st March.  Modern languages are useful and it is imperative that the skill is picked up at an early age, when there is less to inhibit learning, and when learning of languages is potentially more natural.  In my opinion, modern languages will also greatly benefit the children if they ever visit mainland Europe.”

“A second language is hugely advantageous if you wish to live and work elsewhere in the European Union, or even when seeking partners for EU funded projects. Learning another language from a young age provides perhaps the best opportunity to achieve fluency, something our European neighbours are acutely aware of.”

“When it comes to speaking languages, the United Kingdom lags way behind the rest of Europe. The effect of this means that sometimes the UK is not as well represented in the European Commission secretariat and other EU institutions as it could and should be.”

“With this decision, it is undervaluing the benefits of language learning, in terms of skills, employability and mobility for the future. The Primary Modern Language Programme operates in 54% of primary schools across Northern Ireland, so not only will scrapping this programme leave language tutors out of work at relatively short notice, but it will also leave many children worse off.”

“This programme should not be axed and I have written to the Minister to urge him to seriously rethink this short-sighted decision.”


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