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Newham lecturer's concern over end to community language exams

PUBLISHED: 16:24 06 May 2015 | UPDATED: 16:44 06 May 2015

Ratha Perumal is a senior lecturer at the University of East London and organised the Complementary Schools’ Week in Newham event

Ratha Perumal is a senior lecturer at the University of East London and organised the Complementary Schools' Week in Newham event

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Eliminating community languages from exam boards will affect students academically and lower their employability, according to a senior lecturer at the University of East London (UEL).

Speaking after the recent decision by exam boards to eliminate several foreign languages as GCSE and/or A level subjects beyond 2017, UEL senior lecturer Ratha Perumal said it will be a motivator for students to continue with world languages if they can work towards a qualification.

The 46-year-old, who works at UEL’s Cass School of Education and Communities, launched an event which champions community languages called Complementary Schools’ Week in Newham on Monday, April 27 where concerns over the decision to cut language learning were discussed.

“Young people who engage with all their language competences to a high level do better in school,” Ms Perumal told the Recorder.

“They remain strongly connected to their cultural and language communities and it’s good for the country because we’re able to expand business.”

She said they also have better employment prospects and explained Hebrew, Arabic and Polish are among those languages set to be axed.

A spokeswoman for AQA said the exam board is no longer able to offer Bengali, Modern Hebrew, Panjabi and Polish at A-level.

She added: “We completely understand the support for these languages – and intend to keep offering all of them at GCSE – but it would still be very hard to overcome the issues that led to our difficult decision not to continue with them at A-level.

“We’d need many more experienced examiners – experts in both the language and exams.

“The low number of students taking these A-levels also makes it very difficult to set appropriate grade boundaries.”

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