Awarding organisation OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations) recently announced plans to reduce its Asset Languages assessment scheme from 25 to only 5 languages (French, German, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin) from 2014. This has in part been as a result of government policy not to recognise Asset Languages as contributing towards the English Baccalaureate. This decision will leave many languages and language learners without accreditation in the UK.
As we reported previously, 'the publication of the new secondary tables including the English Baccalaureate has highlighted concerns over which languages 'count'. For example, 12 languages are now spoken by more than 10,000 pupils in London yet only a few examinations in these languages are recognised as an EBac qualifying language. It seems likely that one impact of the EBac will be to reduce choice for bilingual pupils as schools concentrate teaching provision on those examinations which count towards this new performance measure'.
Asset Languages currently offers accreditation for 25 languages, including Cantonese, Cornish, Hindi, Somali, Swedish, Tamil and Yoruba, for which no GCSE examination exists. The removal of Asset Languages qualifications in these languages will set back attempts to encourage the learning of a broader range of world languages which business leaders say are needed to develop British exports to BRIC and other high-growth countries. The decision also represents a blow to ethnic minority communities who wish to see their children achieve qualifications in their heritage languages.
Speak to the Future has organised a petition urging OCR to reconsider its plans for Asset Languages, and the Government to reconsider its policy towards this accreditation. Colleagues who believe that rewarding knowledge of a wide range of languages is important for our communities, society and economy, may wish to sign the petition at www.speaktothefuture.org/we-need-your-help-support-our-petition-to-save-language-exams/