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Languages - Petition to promote

The Scottish Parliament's education, lifelong learning and culture committee last week discussed a petition from Murray Hill, a lecturer in languages at the Robert Gordon University, which calls on MSPs to "make a step change in strategy and vigorously promote foreign language learning and intercultural awareness in Scotland's schools, colleges and universities".

Dr Hill's petition, which was backed by 300 members of the Scottish Association for Language Teaching, was first presented to the Parliament's petitions committee last year.

The education committee has now agreed to write to the Education Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, asking for the Scottish Government's views on the Scottish Funding Council's report in May into modern languages in Scotland.

The SFC report found that Scotland fell well short of the language aspirations of the Council of Europe - that all EU citizens be able to hold a conversation in two languages other than their mother tongue. It also reported claims by college and university staff that negative experiences at school affected learners' desire to study languages later in life.

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