What kind of 'mandarin' thought of this?

Mandarins on Ed Balls, everyone! Finally the Secretary of State has a good idea for the nation's health and that of its children! God knows I could do with some vitamin C! Oh, no, wait...

Courtesy of Press Association

Ed Balls is now encouraging children to take up Mandarin due to ties with nations such as China becoming 'increasingly important'. Cheers Ed, but if I had children, my family would just stick to take aways...

Every secondary school pupil should have the chance to learn languages like Mandarin, Children's Secretary Ed Balls said on Monday. Ties with nations such as China were becoming increasingly important and it was vital that youngsters learned skills that allowed Britain to keep up, Mr Balls added.

Teenagers will be able to take Mandarin as a GCSE from this year. The language came third in a poll by the CBI to find the languages employers were most looking for. Mr Balls said: "One in seven secondary schools are offering Mandarin and more are moving towards sharing resources across schools."

Take-up of modern foreign languages has fallen since ministers made the subject optional at GCSE level in 2002. Shadow schools minister Nick Gibb said: "This Government's policies have resulted in plummeting numbers of state school pupils studying languages at GCSE. There's a credibility gap between Ed Balls's rhetoric and what actually happens in our schools."

Elsewhere, a separate report published on Monday by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) revealed that a plan to give "incentive" payments to schools which have a proportion of pupils making good progress would not be rolled out across the country. A DCSF spokesman said there had never been a commitment to extend the scheme nationally.

Let's not stand up to China, that loathsome, vile country whose Government enforce abortions and infanticide daily upon the innocent, shall we? Let's all learn their language because we think they're becoming an economic powerhouse! Diplomacy knows no morality and I dare say that deep down in the bowels of Government, they'd actually rather like to adopt some of China's most diabolical and gruesome policies. I'm sure they'd rather the Church was underground and living in fear. I can only imagine that Ed Balls was brought up without values or discipline by his parents. Spare the child the rod and you get a Secretary of State for the Corruption of Children.


Physiocrat said…
Talk about running before one can walk. Wouldn't it be a better idea if children started with Latin, Greek or Hebrew, all of which are reasonably manageable and give a good grounding in learning how to study languages in general?

BTW Google translate does not do Latin.
Anonymous said…
You could add Ball's parenting lessons for 14 yr olds to the list.
I know. I think he may actually be pathologically incapable of a morally decent policy, which for a Children's Secretary is disturbing.
Mark in Spokane said…
First, it is a great idea to have students study languages, and Chinese is a very good language in the modern world to study. But there are other modern languages that are also worth studying - focusing on Chinese at the expense of other languages, particularly languages that are spoken by large numbers of people in rapidly developing economies (for example, Portuguese, spoken in Brazil, or Indonesian, spoken by over 400 million people) is just nuts.

Second, there are definite advantages to learning the classical languages when it comes to language study. This simple fact has been discussed at length by Dorothy Sayers and others like Doug Wilson. So, having students study the classical languages as a way of getting them to understand language in general, as proposed by the Physiocrat, is a great idea. If one has an aversion to "dead languages" (which aren't really dead but that's a different discussion), then many of the benefits of classical language re: knowledge of grammatical principles, etc., can be obtained by studying a highly inflected modern language like German or Russian.

On an unrelated note, I gave your blog a shout out on my own blog, complete with link. Thanks for having such an interesting and thought-provoking blog!

Cheers Bro, glad you enjoy!
Jane said…
Don't worry. Most kids resist the idea of learning any foreign language and have been encouraged in their obduracy by 'government' for many year. This is just a daftness from the present one on its last legs, I hope.

Thanks for the blog Laurence.

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