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HomeUK NewsMP calls for government support for south Asian language teaching

MP calls for government support for south Asian language teaching

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Gareth Thomas MP has urged the government to allocate resources for the development and teaching of south Asian languages, including Gujarati, Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Tamil, and Hindi.

Thomas pointed out that the lack of widespread understanding of south Asian languages within the UK hampers the full potential of cultural and business ties between the UK and south Asia.

Presently, the responsibility of preserving and teaching south Asian languages largely falls on the shoulders of the diaspora community, operating through places of worship and weekend schools.

While commending the community’s efforts, the MP underscored the need for substantial government support to bolster language education initiatives.

Comparing the allocation of resources to other languages like Mandarin and Latin, which have received targeted government support, he stressed the urgency for similar assistance towards south Asian languages.

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No direct funding has been allocated for the teaching of Punjabi, Bengali, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Sinhalese, Tamil, Pashto, and Dari during the tenure of the Conservative government in the past five years, he said.

The consequence of this neglect is evident in the drastic reduction of students opting for south Asian languages at the GCSE level between 2013 and 2023. Statistics reveal a decline of 42% in Gujarati, 58% in Bengali, and 16% in Urdu enrollments during this period.

Expressing concern over this trend, Thomas remarked, “We are witnessing a decade of decline in the number of students taking up south Asian languages at a GCSE level because of the failure of this Conservative government to invest in these communities and their crucial languages. As we seek to negotiate trade deals with the worlds fastest growing economies like that of India it is of critical importance that the Government invests in these important south Asian languages.”

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