Singh comments on Learning Languages in Scotland
September 25, 2020
IN a report entitled Breaking the Language Barrier, published by Reform Scotland in October 2018, it is noted that the UK Government estimates poor language skills cost the economy £48 billion annually, equivalent to 3.5% of GDP. While Anglophone countries often dismiss other languages, Scotland is demonstrating an appetite to turn the tide.
Charandeep Singh, deputy chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce and a speaker of four languages, is acutely aware of the importance of languages to the Scottish economy. He feels the current direction of travel is encouraging and believes Scotland’s “rich tapestry of communities and cultures” means that our “cultural currency is stronger than we think in relation to communication and languages”.
Singh’s optimism is underpinned by statistics, published by the Scottish Government in 2017, revealing 158 main languages spoken in the homes of pupils in publicly funded schools. More than 53,000 (a significant number of our future workforce) had a main language other than English, Gaelic, Scots, Doric or British Sign Language.