Shortchanging investment in the future

Via Ninth Level, I find myself reading of all things, a Fianna Fail press release.

I can’t find a news report confirming the matter but feel the need to comment on it anyway:

At a major conference on Ireland’s competitiveness in Croke Park today, Minister Quinn attempted to defend his decision to abolish the Modern Languages in Primary School Initiative (MLPSI) by saying that he has bought several German cars in his lifetime but never needed to speak German to do so.

Release was issued by Averil Power, Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Education.

No doubt a key reason we cancel initiatives like this could include the fact that we’re effectively bankrupt at the moment, don’t have money, the initiative is not really delivering, but that’s not, apparently what Ruairi Quinn said.

I have a declaration of interest. I speak fluent French and very good German. I’ve lived in France, Belgium and Germany. I have had that opportunity because I speak foreign languages.

Currently, on the propertypin, there is a discussion regarding schools in Dublin and while it covers a number of aspects of secondary schooling, there are comments from parents for whom language learning is very important. In other words, the mere purchase of a German designed car is not the only thing people might have ever used German for.

We also have calls from various business men for us to teach Chinese. I’ve written about this in the past also with a view to the practical implications of such an idea (clue – I’m not totally certain a blanket policy on Chinese because Richard Barrett, a business man with interests in China, says we should implement it). The point here is that there is an interest in teaching our young people other languages.

We suck at it. I’ve written about this in the past on one of my other sites and my view can be summed up as the country just being lazy at learning languages. We do not put in the effort, same as we don’t really put it into maths and science either. We could try a whole lot harder.

The comment attributed to the current Minister for Education just underlines that.