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Foreign petition

Fears that apathy towards languages will damage Scotland in the job market have convinced a senior Aberdeen lecturer to take action.

Murray Hill, who works at Aberdeen Business School in Robert Gordon University, has started a petition that predicts alarming consequences if languages are not made a national priority. He wants the Scottish Executive to implement a detailed languages policy.

The petition reads: "Getting by in the global marketplace without an effective and properly implemented foreign languages policy for Scotland is no longer an option for the 'best small country in the world'.

"Scottish pupils and students need to engage in integrated, progressive foreign language learning at all stages, from primary to higher education.

Otherwise, we face being left behind increasingly by fellow European Union citizens and others when competing for jobs."

Dr Hill's petition calls on MSPs to make "a step-change in strategy", and for languages and inter-cultural awareness to be "vigorously" promoted. It was submitted after being signed by 300 languages teachers and lecturers from across Scotland at a conference in Stirling this month.

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