15 June 2009
Marlyn Glen, the Dundee-based MSP, has urged Dundee City Council to explore a potential offer of two teachers from the Orleans area of France who would come and teach in Dundee as from September , fully funded through a new French Government programme.
The plea comes after Marie-Helena Taquet, of the International Relations Department of the Adademie d’Orleans-Tours, told Ms. Glen that the French Government had recently introduced the Jules Verne Programme.
This allows teachers in France to spend a year teaching in a school abroad, starting from September.
Madame Taquet has a teacher in primary school and a teacher in secondary school who would like to teach in the UK.
Ms. Glen has already written to Dundee City Council’s Education Department asking them to contact the French authorities about the Jules Verne programme and the potential offer.
Details of the new French teacher programme emerged when Ms. Glen contacted Orleans on the number on the number of school pupils there who are studying English as a foreign language, and how this compares with the number of school pupils in Dundee who study French as a foreign language.
Madam Taquet said that all school pupils in France have to learn two foreign languages. If they do not choose English as their first foreign language, they do as their second foreign language. Therefore, all students aged 16 or 17 learn English at school.
By contrast, answers to Parliamentary Questions by Ms. Glen show that the percentage of pupils in Dundee in the age group for presentation for Standard grade French in each of the past three years has been below 50 per cent.
The number of presentations for Higher French in Dundee in 2008 was 4 per cent – 63 pupils – the highest figures for the past three years.
Ms. Glen said,
“A stronger drive on learning foreign languages is essential in a globalised economy.
“In the competitive European business market, foreign language skills could mean the difference between clinching or losing a contract.
” It also means better communications with other people and understanding of their lives and culture.
” While American English dominates the globalised economy and information systems, not everybody speaks English.”
Ms. Glen has established through parliamentary questions that Scotland’s exports to France was estimated at £1.457 billion in 2007, equivalent to 7 per cent of Scotland’s total exports.