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Students reject SARTOR second language plan

THE GRADUATES and Students National Committee has rejected ICE plans to add a second language as a requirement for the professional review, as 'unfair'.

May's Education, Training and Membership recommendation that ability to converse in a second language should be added as a core SARTOR objective, was thrown out at the GSNC meeting on 12 June.

Said chairman Alex Ritchie: 'Future members of the Institution may be deterred from a career in civil engineering if they are unable to acquire langauge skills. The Institution is in danger of losing capable 17 year olds who decide to pursue careers in other professions which do not have this requirement.

'The majority of people around this table believe that the scheme should be optional. I have written to ET&M chairman Peter Guthrie, and suggested alternatives. I would urge you all to write letters to Guthrie. With a co-ordinated approach I believe we can exert enough pressure and get the second language requirement overturned.'

Members of the committee directed their ire at ICE training manager Gareth Jones, who was present to give an update on SARTOR. But in a robust defence of the initiative, Jones said: 'In the 21st century, chartered engineers will be involved more and more in international partnerships and having a another language will be very important. You say 'why should it be mandatory?'; can I turn it around by saying 'why shouldn't it be mandatory?'. Of the students I have consulted, no-one made a single comment about the language objective. I'm surprised and disappointed by your reaction.'

The latest SARTOR recommendations will be scrutinised by the Executive Committee in July before a final decision from Council in September.

'I wouldn't personally die in a ditch about this issue if GSNC feel strongly enough about it,' said Richard Larcombe of ET&M. 'We will simply present a report to the Executive Committee saying that ET&M is in favour and GSNC is opposed and the final decision will be theirs. This issue is just one of many revisions that will be considered.'

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