It will take about two years from March 2017 before the United Kingdom can exit the European Union. This is the projection if invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty happens in March 2017. The Article gives the EU and the UK two years to discuss and agree on the terms of the UK exit from the Union.
According to the British Council, the exit from the European Union makes it vital for people in Britain to have foreign language skills in preparation for leaving the EU. It may take two more years for the exit to be finalized but the British Council advises that foreign language skills will definitely be needed.
On the other hand, English will no longer be one of the officially recognized EU languages if the UK exits from the European Union. English is actually the dominant working language in the Union. Since the UK is the only member nation that named English as the country’s language when they joined the EU, the language will now lose its status.
Foreign language skills become essential
The British Council conducted another survey and 63% of the 2,000 participants said that it is essential for the county to have the ability to speak foreign languages. This is because the country will have to start dealing with other countries to ensure the continuity of UK’s trade and investment.
There is already a noticeable rise in interest in the property industry from foreign investors, especially from the Chinese. Many investors can speak English, although the respondents in the survey believe that learning a client’s language leads to the development of closer business relationships.
About 67% of the British Council survey respondents believe that foreign language learning among the youth is not encouraged enough in the UK. Almost the same number of respondents say that schools should devote more time to language learning now in preparation for Brexit. Right now, language uptake in most British schools is still low compared to Math and other subjects.
About 69% of the respondents showed strong support for the youth to experience foreign cultures and languages and believe that school exchanges should be continued. Moreover, 74% of participants who are between the ages of 18 and 24 are in favor of the international experience they can gain from school exchanges.
British Council Schools Adviser, Vicky Gough, says that as the country readies for repositioning itself on the world stage, it becomes more important to have foreign language skills. There is a shortage of language skills in the UK, since majority of the nation’s citizens believe that everybody knows how to speak English so there is no need to learn another language.
With the latest developments, it is vital to in encourage more people to acquire foreign language skills. It’s been proven that speaking another language lets people connect with other cultures as well as hike job opportunities.
Ms. Gough adds that it is important for UK to make language learning a top priority if the country wants to be globally competitive after Brexit.