In a country where studying a language at GCSE level is currently non-compulsory, it’s interesting to see that business managers in the Czech Republic believe students should study more than one language.

The survey by Czech Position found that the majority of business managers think that more than one language should be compulsory in schools, with Russian, German, Hindi and Mandarin the preferred options. The survey was in response to the proposal by the National Economic Council (NERV) that students should only study English as a second language as they could “get by in life” if they were fluent in English. It also said that students should study subjects such as law, finance and IT instead of a second compulsory language.

Managers disagree, with many pointing to their business links with Russia and Germany as evidence for the need for students to study a second compulsory language. According to one, “some 85 percent of the Czech Republic’s business cooperation takes place with European Union member states, and more than half with German-speaking countries, above all Germany. Forgetting this fact would be a fatal error”.

Not all of the managers were in agreement however, with some pointing to the quality of language teaching in schools as an area that needs to be addressed before more languages are compulsory. Another said that schools and students should be allowed to focus on a discipline they are good at – “teaching several compulsory languages would reduce the capacity of the school and the students for specific subjects. Then it could easily happen that a student — a talented technician, for instance — would not pass his school leaving exam in a foreign language and, as a result, could not find an appropriate job because of something that is not directly connected with his professional qualities”.

What do you think?