‘Ditch Bac for rare languages’

Only popular languages should be offered, the report said

Allowing students to take exams in 47 languages causes complications says a report – we should stick to popular ones

SCHOOL inspectors say there are too many language study options at the Baccalauréat and ones like Laotian or Lithuanian should be ditched.

A total of 47 different languages can be presented – inspectors have said in a report to the Education Ministry this should be reduced to 24.

Some of them are not even taught in schools and finding examiners for them is an annual problem. The organisational difficulties are “disproportional compared to the actual use that candidates make of this range of languages,” said the report.

Only 11 languages are presented by more than 1,000 students a year – German, English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Hebrew, Italian, Occitan, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish.

At the other end of the scale, Hindi or Finnish are among17 that are taken by fewer than 50 candidates, some of which, like Macedonian or Tahitian, are taken by fewer than 20.

The inspectors suggest languages be limited to the 12 main European ones, four major international ones and eight regional French ones: Alsacian, Mosellan, Occitan, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Gallo and Breton.

The report however recognises this could “cause significant diplomatic reactions, considering the attachment of certain countries to having their national language among the Bac exams”.

The move might also harm university teaching of certain languages if departments’ graduates are deprived of the possibility of going into teaching careers.

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