Watson - Language Skills Key

October 16, 2008 9:28 AM

Tomorrow Exeter University will host a Conference on the importance of emerging world languages, which will include key note speeches from the Taiwanese Representative to the UK Ms Katharine Siao-yie Chang (Taiwanese de facto Ambassador to the UK) and the European Union's Commissioner for Languages, Leonard Orban.

Long time advocate of language teaching Graham Watson, the South West Liberal Democrat MEP commented on how he hopes schools will embrace Mandarin Teaching in the region.

"It's good to have so many educational stakeholders coming together to discuss the importance of children learning languages. The ability to communicate with people in new developing major markets is important. Language skills such can equip our young people with an edge in the global job market."

The 'Broadening Horizons' Scheme that I helped launch last year is going from strength to strength, with more schools participating this year. The conference can help us build on that success and widen the debate on why new languages like Chinese are so important to children and our economy.

It's great that Taiwanese Representative Ms Katharine Siao-Yeu Chang is visiting the West Country, to see how learning Chinese is being embraced. The 'Broadening Horizons' language scheme was established in conjunction with the Taiwanese Executive, and It's great that Taiwanese Representative Ms Katharine Siao-yie Chang is visiting the West Country, to see how schools are embracing the Chinese language."

Editors note

The 'Broadening Horizons' scheme, which Graham Watson MEP established last year, provides a teaching assistant to schools keen to introduce Mandarin but previously held back by budgetary constraints. In return for providing accommodation, food and covering basic administration costs, the schools get an assistant for between 8 and 12 hours per week to work with pupils of all ages, feeder primary schools, and where demand is such, the wider community too.

The participating schools involved in the 'Broadening Horizons' scheme 2008-2009 are:

Hayle Community School (Cornwall), which is hosting Taiwanese language assistant Chen-Kuang Pan

Penrice Community College (Cornwall), which is hosting Taiwanese language assistant Wan-Ju Laing

Pilton Community College (Devon), which is hosting Taiwanese language assistant Chiao-Wen Shao

The Sir John Colfox (Dorset), which is hosting Taiwanese language assistant Yun-Yeh Tsai

Kingsmead Community School (Somerset), which is hosting Taiwanese language assistant Wen-Ju Liang

Huish Episcopi School (Somerset) which is hosting Taiwanese language assistant Hsu-Ling Chung

The Sir Bernard Lovell School (Oldham Common, Bristol), which is hosting Taiwanese language assistant Yen-Han Hu

The John Bentley School (Wiltshire) which is hosting Taiwanese language assistant Yun-Yeh Tsai

The Cotswold School (Gloucestershire) which is hosting Taiwanese language assistant Mei-Li Chang

The Conference will take place from 9:30am-12 noon at The University of Exeter.

The Conference is free to attend. Those interested should email admin@grahamwatsonmep.org with their details.