Wolverhampton is as multicultural a city as you’ll find anywhere in the UK. Therefore the fact that the city council plans to axe the Wolverhampton language service is somewhat unexpected.
Almost everyone is aware of the budget constraints that local councils and authorities are facing in these austere times.
Having been saved from the executioner’s axe under the previous Con-Dem ward, the Wolverhampton language service has no state-supported last-minute pardon in sight this time around, even under Labour stewardship.
The scrapping of the scheme is an attempt to save £150,000 over the next two years and the council isn’t hanging about. Due to lack of take up of Punjabi at GCSE level, one teaching post has already bitten the dust.
Wolverhampton Language Service serves 750 pupils
It’s suggested that 750 pupils, aged between 5-18, will be affected by the proposed slashing of the Wolverhampton language service.
The Saturday courses, teaching predominantly Urdu and Punjabi plus other mother-tongue languages, will have ‘significant’ impacts on pupils wishing to study those languages to GCSE and A Level standards, it’s been claimed.
In typical Tory fashion, this move being plotted and administered from Downing Street, there is a plan b on the table.
Rather than impose its cost on the taxpayer, the Wolverhampton language service may yet have its sentence altered from the death penalty if it can be supported by private funding.
Bizarrely, if there are willing investors in the private sector, the extension of the Wolverhampton language service will be offered to adults, rather than children of compulsory education age.
The onus will be then passed onto the parents, uncles or aunts to educate their family members in their respective mother tongues, not the taxpayer or the state.
English is, after all, the mother tongue
It grieves me to say this, but I think the Tories have got this call right. As an Irish Catholic growing up in the UK in the late 70s/early 80s, any funding our church or Parish needed we had to raise ourselves.
To even contemplate approaching the council to incorporate the Irish/Gaelic language as part of any syllabus would have been thought laughable.
The Asian community has had a fair crack of the whip, being availed of the Wolverhampton language service as long as it has.
The issue I believe is that further support would have been called for – and in a politically correct and culturally balanced society, seen to be provided for – similar courses availed to immigrants from Eastern European countries.
The fact of the matter is, being brought up as part of an immigrant family myself, we have chosen to come to England. Should the English taxpayer fund my education in my own mother tongue?
No, I don’t think so. It’s great to be able to communicate to compatriots in it, but we have to accept the consensus of the majority.
In this case, English is not only the language of the country in which we live, but also more globally recognised than any of those that the Wolverhampton language service may have been instructing in as part of its extra-curricular syllabus.
Have your say:
- Should indigenous taxpayers stump up for immigrants to learn their mother tongue?
- Or is it the responsibility of the immigrants to teach their descendants the values of their roots, culture and languages?