Foreword by His Excellency Bernard Emié pp. xxi-xxiiBy Bernard Emié
French Studies in and for the Twenty-first Century
Online ISBN: 9781846316692
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5949/UPO9781846316692.002
The publication of this book comes at a time when humanities in general, and the teaching of modern foreign languages in particular, feel threatened because of uncertainty in relation to financial and economic circumstances. French Studies departments already faced difficulties when, in 2004, the education department for England decided that a foreign-language GCSE was no longer required to access higher education, a decision that resulted in the dropping of language teaching in many secondary schools. Learning a foreign language is perceived in the UK as being difficult and, the subject having in essence become optional, few pupils enrol in language classes, even where these are still offered. This has led to a drop in the number of students with the language skills required to enrol in French Studies at university. Organisations involved in the defence of language learning, and French Studies departments throughout the UK, have pointed out that British professionals in both public and private sectors often lack the language skills they need to pursue international careers. Already, for instance, there is a shortfall of graduates applying for posts within EU bodies or entering international organisations which require the command of a European language.
French Studies departments have argued that with the teaching of French language comes the teaching of French literature, French history, French politics, French cinema and theatre, French linguistics, and so on. Also prominent in French Studies are subjects such as postcolonial studies, war and culture, and women's studies.
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