ASCL comment on students turning to technology courses at university

04/02/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on figures from UCAS about a shift towards technology-based degrees
 
Commenting on figures from UCAS about a shift towards technology-based degrees, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“It’s fantastic to see so many young people choosing courses which are focused on future careers in technology, and in disciplines such as medicine, nursing, business and law. This is testimony to the great preparation provided by their schools and colleges, and reflects the fact that these are routes to good jobs.

“However, the slump in foreign languages is of real concern, particularly in a post-Brexit economy when linguists will clearly be needed for international relations and trade. This feeds through from a decline in language take-up in schools which has happened because of teacher shortages, funding pressures, and pupil perceptions that these are difficult subjects which are graded severely and that English is a lingua franca.

“The government’s attempts to drive take-up through school performance measures hasn’t worked, and it is clear that a much more considered approach is required based on building a love of languages. We really do need a national languages strategy or we’ll end up becoming an entirely monolingual society at exactly the time when we need to be more outward facing.”