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28-10-2009, 12:06   #1
 
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Should Chinese not be a Leaving Cert subject?

Mods, feel free to move if this is in the wrong place.

I have been researching this and am surprised that Chinese is not a leaving certificate subject. Does anyone know if anything is being proposed or planned?

From my research I have found that these are the current Languages for the Leaving Cert in their respective headings:

Modern Languages
Arabic
French
German
Irish
Italian
Japanese
Russian
Hebrew
Spanish
Russian

Non-curricular EU languages (available for students who meet certain criteria)
Bulgarian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
Estonian
Finnish
Modern Greek
Hungarian
Latvian
Lithuanian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Slovakian
Swedish

Arts and Humanities
Ancient Greek
Latin

I must admit that I find it difficult to understand why our country's future talent have the option to study languages such as Latin, Arabic and Hebrew but not Chinese

Not that anyone needs reminding but here are a few compelling reasons why it might be added to the Leaving Cert:

-World's most spoken language by any measurement. Mandarin has 845 million first language speakers mainly in China, Taiwan and Singapore.
-This compares to the 2nd most spoken language being English with 328 million first language speakers.
-China is the third largest economy in the world after the US and Japan.
-China has had the fastest-growing major economy for the past 30 years with an average annual GDP growth rate above 10%.
-China is the most populous in the world with over 1.3 billion people, approximately one-fifth of the world's population.
-China's foreign exchange reserves have reached US$2.1 trillion, making it by far the world's largest.
-China is now the world's third biggest consumer of luxury goods with 12% of the global share.
-China currently has the most cell phone users in the world with over 700 million users in July 2009. It also has the largest number of internet and broadband users in the world.

Sources: Various Wikipedia pages
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28-10-2009, 13:44   #2
dory
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Those languages are there to cater for immigrants who speak those languages, and might slip up on English/Irish exams as far as I know, not to give Irish people a chance to study an exotic language.
I've never heard of an Irish person sitting Latvian in the Leaving. Lovely idea but the demand wouldn't be there to hire a teacher and the Irish young uns couldn't share a class with native Latvians.
It's all down to how many Chinese people sit the Leaving Cert I believe.
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28-10-2009, 13:50   #3
 
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Dory, your point is only valid for the 'Non-curricular EU languages' which is driven by EU guidelines. Hence Chinese can never fall into this category.

The other languages I mentioned such as Latin, Arabic and Hebrew do not fall into this category. They are fully fledged Leaving Cert subjects which are designed for English speaking students.
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28-10-2009, 14:50   #4
 
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Originally Posted by leonardjos View Post
Dory, your point is only valid for the 'Non-curricular EU languages' which is driven by EU guidelines. Hence Chinese can never fall into this category.

The other languages I mentioned such as Latin, Arabic and Hebrew do not fall into this category. They are fully fledged Leaving Cert subjects which are designed for English speaking students.
Are you aware of the current educational cutbacks?
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28-10-2009, 14:56   #5
 
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Are you aware of the current educational cutbacks?
Indeed, why fund an educational system that prepares students for the modern economy?! After all, all that money is desperately needed by the poor unfortunate banks!
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28-10-2009, 19:54   #6
 
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Indeed, why fund an educational system that prepares students for the modern economy?! After all, all that money is desperately needed by the poor unfortunate banks!
Yeah you're right, schools should get funding for teachers of chinese. Never mind the learning support and special needs assistance that has been cut in the budget or the thousands of unemployed teachers of other subjects. I have no problem funding the educational system and see first hand the effects of the cuts in my school. But fund the schools where necessary, not for flippin chinese!You can't be a teacher surely!?
What planet are you on????
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28-10-2009, 20:40   #7
 
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Just because I'm not a teacher doesn't mean I can't have an opinion on the educational system. Sometimes you have to be outside the system to see the bigger picture. We shouldn't be content for our educational system just to thread water, we should be open to reforming and improving it. And when I say improving and reforming that is not code for throwing more money at the problem.

Adding Chinese to the Leaving Cert shouldn't be something that would incur huge expense. And it also doesn't mean that every school in the country would be obliged to teach it or hire a new teacher. After all Latin, Arabic and Hebrew are on the Leaving Cert and they are not burdening the system with unnecessary expense. Schools and students would simply have the option to cover it if they wanted to.

By the way, I agree that funding for special needs assistance and so forth shouldn't be cut. I was having a go at the government for diverting hugely needed funds into NAMA. I think the teaching of languages is only one area where we need to be re-evaluating how we are equiping our students for the real world that awaits once they graduate. It's a tough world out there, and its probably going to get tougher.
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28-10-2009, 22:40   #8
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Slightly related to this I wonder why Hebrew studies has not been removed from the Junior and Leaving Certificate list of examinable subjects. Less than 10 people have taken the subject at lc level in the last 5 years and this will probably continue as the Jewish community in Ireland has been in decline in recent decades.
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28-10-2009, 22:44   #9
 
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-This compares to the 2nd most spoken language being English with 328 million first language speakers.
sounds a bit low.
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29-10-2009, 17:01   #10
 
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The OP has a valid point. Recession or no recession a valid point is a valid point.

If students can take Japanese at Leaving Cert level then surely it is within the realms of possibility that Chinese could be taken as well.

I'm sure it would be a very costly exercise to develop a curriculum though. It's not as straight forward as a DES official or NCCA official just deciding what would be studied in the subject. It is a long process to develop a curriculum to a stage where it is implemented in schools. And even when it is implementable very few schools would choose to offer it, even if the Celtic Tiger (RIP) was still alive.

Japanese is a fairly recent addition to the LC programme, and doesn't have massive numbers taking it. But it is there nonetheless. I'm sure Chinese would have a greater uptake than Japanese if it was introduced.
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29-10-2009, 20:21   #11
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If students can take Japanese at Leaving Cert level then surely it is within the realms of possibility that Chinese could be taken as well.
Japanese being on the list is irrelevant to the vast bulk of students as the schools wouldn't offer it anyway. People would have to go out of their way to get private Jap lessons, which I suppose one could do for Chinese too.

But how many 15 year olds really think of the global economy? More than anything they'd be thinking of the hot French ones they could score with a few words of that.

Chinese is taught in a good few Universities. If they have the facilities for that then great, young people of Ireland get thir Chinese education, and post-primary schools can work on other areas.
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29-10-2009, 21:22   #12
 
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Japanese being on the list is irrelevant to the vast bulk of students as the schools wouldn't offer it anyway. People would have to go out of their way to get private Jap lessons, which I suppose one could do for Chinese too.
My school had Japanese as an option for LC. And other schools in my area had it as well; the same Japanese teacher taught in a few different schools. Obviously not every school offers it, but there are many subjects in the LC programme that are not offered by every school.

Quote:
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But how many 15 year olds really think of the global economy? More than anything they'd be thinking of the hot French ones they could score with a few words of that.
How many 15 year olds want to go to school in the first place?! How many 15 year olds want to study Maths and English?! And I don't think that many students pick French for the reason you stated.
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30-10-2009, 19:05   #13
 
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If it can be done for Japanese it should be done for Chinese...simple as..
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30-10-2009, 19:48   #14
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Arabic is taken by students in a school in Tripoli, Libya which follows the LC curriculum. If you have a look at any LC timetable for the last number of years you'll see that it's examined at the same time as Irish. There may be a few students sitting the exam in this country, but that is it's main function.


Latin, Ancient Greek and I suspect Hebrew have been around for some time as exam subjects and would have been far more popular many years ago. They can be provided as long as there is a demand (albeit small) for them and schools can provide them. It's far easier to provide examinations in subjects with an established curriculum than to develop a new curriculum for a new subject.

Us teachers of Agricultural Science haven't had a change in the curriculum for the subject since 1969. Considering the importance of agriculture in this country, and the length of time we are waiting, it'll be a long time before Chinese is a Leaving Cert subject in this country.
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31-10-2009, 00:05   #15
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Chinese is not needed for the modern economy. English is the language used in world business. Chinese people spend their time going to third level in english speaking countries to learn english for their future business careers not the other way round.
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