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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Past GT essay - In some countries students are required to learn a foreign language, but in other countries it is not necessary to do so. Discuss the benefits of each case and give your own opinion.

In some countries, more than one language is compulsory. Sometimes pupils have to start learning a language at primary school. Foreign languages are less often compulsory in English-speaking countries. This is probably because English is widely understood worldwide. This essay shall delve into the advantages of having to study a foreign language as well as the advantages of no such compulsion.

Foreign languages are important for the economy. The more languages someone can speak the more places they can work. Employers value people who are able to speak more than one language. Learning a language will therefore help students get good jobs when they are older. It will also increase their understanding of other cultures. Moreover, foreign language skills help companies do business with other countries. It is especially important that children whose native language is not widely spoken (e.g. Hindi, Danish) learn other languages. It is also important for English-speakers to learn foreign languages, since not everyone speaks English. What is more, it is polite to be able to speak some of another person’s language. Governments should try to promote economic growth. Since languages are important for the economy, governments should make all young people learn them.  

On the other hand, there are obvious advantages of not forcing a foreign language on students. To begin with, many young people are hardly able to do simple sums or read and write in their own language. Therefore, more time can be spent on these basic skills, not foreign languages. Cultural understanding can be gained in other subjects such as history and Geography. Foreign language should be an optional subject and not obligatory. Young people have to learn to make choices. If they do not realize the benefits of learning languages, these benefits should be explained to them. If pupils choose to study a language, they are more likely to be keen and interested than if it is something they are forced to do. In any case, many adults do successfully learn new languages through evening classes or distance-learning courses if they feel the need to learn one later on in life.

On balance, there are more advantages of being bilingual or multilingual than being monolingual. In India English is taught as a second language right from primary school. That is why Indian economy has picked up very fast as many MNCs have opened here. Even countries like Canada have begun to realize the importance of a second language and French or Punjabi is taught in many areas as a second language. It has also been proved by researches that bilingual students do better in other subjects too.

To put it in a nutshell, I pen down saying that although there are advantages of having a mandatory foreign language and not having any such obligation, it is better to study a foreign language than not study one.


  1. your essay is good but you crosser the word limit
    by attempting it with 475 words :-)

  2. Thanks Kiran. Its an excellent way of writing.I have just started preparing for IELTS.
    Thanks .



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