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Monday, 19 November 2012

Good Move: UK Children Will Learn Latin and Classical Greek

UK Education Secretary Michael Gove has been doing good things for the British education system.

The latest reform is to introduce for 7-year-olds compulsory classes of foreign languages (which will be advantageous in today's global economic competition), with Latin and Greek being two of the seven languages from which to choose.

The study of Latin and ancient Greek is very useful for several reasons.

Latin is a very logical language, and its study helps think analytically. Both Latin and Greek can be understood only after learning syntax and logical analysis of language, which again, by breaking down the elements of a sentence, serve to have a clearer idea of what we are saying and therefore thinking.

In addition to being an aid to logic and thought, Latin and Greek are highly useful for learning English itself. Due to the strict correspondence between thought and language, the building blocks are the same for all languages. So, when you study syntax and logical analysis - which are essential to learn Latin and Greek - your knowledge of the English language will also be based on much more solid foundations.

Seven-year-olds to get lessons in Greek and Latin under reforms to introduce compulsory language classes:
Latin and Greek will be taught in primary schools under government reforms that introduce compulsory language lessons for seven-year-olds.

For the first time, all children will be required to study a foreign language while at primary school, ministers announced yesterday.

Schools will be able to choose from a list of seven languages including Latin and ancient Greek.

The list also features Mandarin – because of the growing importance of China as an economic power – plus French, German, Spanish and Italian.

Under a new national curriculum coming into force in September 2014, primary schools will be required to teach at least one language from the list.

If they wish to teach an additional language, they will be allowed complete freedom of choice, raising the prospect of pupils learning to speak languages as diverse as Russian, Portuguese and Arabic.

Ministers have included Latin and ancient Greek in the core list in the hope of sparking a resurgence of the classics in state schools.

Study of the ancient languages is said to give a rigorous grounding in the grammar and vocabulary of many modern languages, including English. But Latin and Greek have become largely the preserve of independent schools.

Currently, foreign language teaching is compulsory in state schools for only the first three years of secondary school.

There is a mixed picture in primaries, with some offering no language teaching at all. The introduction of compulsory languages for pupils from the age of seven is aimed at arresting a slump in language studies over the past decade.

Labour scrapped compulsory language learning for 14-year-olds in 2004, which led to a gradual decline in the numbers taking them at GCSE.

Last year, a European Commission study of foreign languages skills among 15-year-olds in 14 countries in Europe put England at the bottom of the table.

The primary school changes were unveiled yesterday by Education Minister Elizabeth Truss.

'We will ensure that every primary school child has a good grasp of a language by age 11,' she said.

'We must give young people the opportunities they need to compete in a global jobs market. Fluency in a foreign language will now be another asset our school leavers and graduates will be able to boast.'

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