Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hungary to favor German over English

Government to favor German over English as main foreign language taught in schools

"The education state secretariat plans to make German the main foreign language to be taught in schools, rather than English, news website Origo reports.
“From the point of view of language pedagogy it is proposed that pupils first encounter the German language, which has a more complex grammar structure than English.” according to the strategy.
The strategy would require pupils to take German-language exams every other year and could only sit higher entrance examinations from 2017 after passing language tests."

“In today’s international life English is the language in which we can get in touch with one another. German is, with the exception of Germany, not a language which people understand.”

Hungarian Academy of Sciences president József Pálinkás, responding to earlier reports that the government planned to officially replace English with German as the primary foreign language taught in state schools.


The education state secretary Rózsa Hoffmann later denied that the government had decided on such, saying only that a draft strategy had been written.

Hoffmann: nein to German over English in schools
Denies media reports of switch in first preferred foreign language


"EU data supports Hoffmann’s pessimistic assessment of Hungary’s foreign language skills. A Eurobarometer report in June identified Hungary as one of the countries where respondents are least likely to be able to speak any foreign language (65 per cent), behind Italy (62 per cent), the UK and Portugal (61 per cent) and Ireland (60 per cent).
Hungary also stands out as one of the countries, along with Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Poland, where the proportion of those able to speak at least one foreign language decreased. Numbers stood at 35 per cent of the population, a seven per cent decrease since 2005 owing in part to a downward shift in the ability to speak Russian or German. Along with the Portuguese, Hungarians are also least likely in the EU to speak a second foreign language: 13 per cent, a 14-point drop since 2005.
The same report lists German as the third most spoken language in the EU (11 per cent), after English (38 per cent) and French (12 per cent). German nonetheless remains an important language in Hungary’s extensive engineering and manufacturing sectors.
Most multinational companies require English and/or German skills in these sectors, specialist recruitment firm Hays Hungary managing director Tammy Nagy-Stellini told The Budapest Times."

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