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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-05091: ()

Date lodged: 14 December 2016

To ask the Scottish Government how many state schools have offered courses in (a) Mandarin and (b) other non-European languages in each of the last five years, and what the take-up rate has been.

Answered by: John Swinney 13 January 2017

Schools provide language learning opportunities to pupils in many flexible and innovative ways, including non-certificated courses, clubs and master classes. The Scottish Government’s 1+2 languages policy is supporting this in both primary and secondary contexts. However, decisions on which languages to offer in which schools rests with each individual school and local authority, taking account of local circumstances.

The Scottish Government provides annual grant funding to the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools, based at the University of Strathclyde, provide strategic leadership of Scotland’s Confucius Classroom network. There are currently 21 Confucius Classrooms based in Scottish local authorities, a further 21 Confucius Classrooms based within primary schools will be established in the coming years. This further provision will provide the opportunity for more pupils to experience learning about China, it’s language and culture.

Entries to Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) National Qualification courses in Chinese languages (Cantonese, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional)) have increased over the past five years, while entries to SQA Urdu courses have remained largely static during this time. There are currently no other SQA National Qualification courses in non-European languages.