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UK students lack foreign skills

02 Aug 2007

UK students lack foreign skills Students in the UK may be missing out on useful overseas courses - and employment opportunities - because they don't speak the right language.

The University and College Union (UCU) warned this week that the increased internationalism of higher education might be leaving British students behind.

The UCU expressed concern that the poor level of foreign language teaching for the UK's children and students would jeopardise their chances of benefiting from the best foreign courses.

Their choice, it maintained, would largely be restricted to English-speaking countries.

Sally Hunt, UCU general secretary, explained: "We need to be encouraging future linguists, especially as future researchers and teachers.

"The international higher education sector of the future may well see greater mobility between countries and it will be vitally important that the UK remains an attractive place to work and study."

She also emphasised the role of foreign languages in improving graduates' job prospects, saying: "With international mobility comes a whole of host of difficulties for staff and students working or studying in other countries.

"Language differences will be a key issue as will things like different employment practices, pension arrangements and salary levels."

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