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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Higher Ed students Unprepared for Future Global Markets?

Interesting read from Hamilton College's The Spectator - Foreign Language Students Unprepared for Global Economy.

The article points out that the current language education is weak, putting higher education sutdents at a disadvantage as they enter the global workplace.

Only 9% of American adults claim to know another language. This is quite a big difference to 50% European adults who are biligual.

The following are the estimated reasons why the US has a weak language education:
  • The US is quite isolated from non-English speaking countries.
  • The author also says there is the perception that America is culturally superior, thus the attitude "if you want to talk to us, learn English."
  • Difference in emphasis of importance of learning another language. In the US, language courses are optional while in other countries, secondary languages are taught and incorporated into the school curriculum.
  • Lack of well-prepared teachers.
We know big changes for better language education will take longer than for our kids to grow up. Might as well not wait for a nationwide change if one can start learning another language at home. If you really want to prepare your kids for the global market, Mandarin Chinese is a good language to start with.

With the vast assortment of language materials available online, we might as well let our kids have a head start in being bilingual.

Learning Chinese will bring them only benefits, so why wait?


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