OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations), the UK awarding body, plans to reduce its Asset Languages assessment scheme from 25 to only 5 languages (French, German, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin) from 2014.
Asset Languages currently offers accreditation for Cantonese, Cornish, Hindi, Somali, Swedish, Tamil and Yoruba, for which no GCSE examination exists. Even where GCSE exams exist, the GCSE is often designed only for learners who speak the language at home, not for those who have learnt it as a foreign language. Reducing the number of Asset languages will set back attempts to encourage the learning of a broader range of world languages, especially languages such as Arabic, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish and South Asian languages, which business leaders say are needed to develop British exports to BRIC and other high-growth countries.
Dr Terry Lamb (University of Sheffield) of the Speak to the Future campaign has started a petition urging OCR to reconsider its plans for Asset Languages, and the government to reconsider its policy towards this accreditation.
To find out more, and to sign the petition, go here.