West is gearing up for challenges of 21st Century - Watson following Language Conference

October 17, 2008 12:25 PM

Following the Language Conference earlier today at Exeter University on the importance of emerging languages, Graham Watson MEP who chaired the event commented on the event's success. Delegates agreed on the increasing importance that needs to be placed on teaching languages such as Mandarin in the West's schools.

Graham Watson said:

"It was great to see such a cross section of people take an interest in language teaching in our schools and meet representatives from schools, college, the region's Universities, and local Councillors that oversee education spending.

I was delighted that the European Commissioner for Languages was able to come to the South West to see how we are embracing emerging languages like Mandarin Chinese and are preparing for the business needs of the 21st Century. We have a lot to be proud of.

The South West's MEP who is a trained interpreter speaking Italian, German and French is himself now learning Mandarin and commented:

"The Broadening Horizons scheme I established in conjunction with the Taiwanese Authorities that provides schools with Chinese language teaching assistants is proving to be a great success. It has already expanded dramatically from its introduction last year, and the feedback I am getting from the schools and today's Conference is that it is a scheme which is proving very popular with students and schools alike.

Following the Conference, Graham Watson MEP is escorting Languages Commissioner Leonard Orban to The Sir Bernard Lovell School in Oldham Common, Bristol, where they will meet local students benefiting from the Broadening Horizons Scheme.

They will round the day off visiting the University of Bath to view its leading translating and interpreting Department and to participate in a question and answer session with students.

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