the height of a heated national row over the teaching of modern languages in
Britain, the German Ambassador who first publicly raised the issue is to give
the annual Modern Languages Lecture at the University of Leicester on 21
an interview in the Independent on Monday 11 February Dr Hans Friedrich von
Ploetz, the German Ambassador, with the Marquis de Tamaron and Luigi Amaduzzi,
Ambassadors of Spain and Italy, expressed their concern that the European Union
could "lose its competitive advantage" if Britain's already precarious
hold on multi-lingualism slipped any further.
national press took up the debate the following day, coinciding with the
publication of Estelle Morris's controversial Green Paper on Education, which
advocated that modern languages should be dropped as a core subject from the age
the lecture at the University of Leicester, which will be attended by the
Councillor John Allen Lord Mayor of Leicester and is open to the public, was
arranged before this issue was raised, it will provide opportunities for members
of the public to ask the Ambassador questions on this and a variety of other
is not the first time the Ambassador has voiced his reservations on language
teaching in Britain. He is a
key advocate of using foreign languages to further education and believes that
the steady decline in those who have attained any qualification in languages
needs to be addressed. He has
expressed concern about the implications of people in the UK not being fully au
fait with European languages.
Professor Richard Littlejohns of the School of Modern Languages is responsible for organising this lecture.
said: "There is a need for the British to learn languages if they want to
be a major player in Europe and beyond."
He added that he was delighted that such a distinguished guest has agreed
to speak at the lecture, calling it a 'coup' for the University.
Ambassador has had a distinguished career, from working in the Embassy in
Washington, representing the German delegation in NATO, and now as the German
Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
lecture, entitled A Flying Start for Languages, will take place at the
University of Leicester in the Ken Edwards Building, Lecture Theatre 3 at
5.30pm, Thursday February 21.
TO NEWSDESK: For more information, please contact Professor Littlejohns 0116 252
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