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Support for second language

MEMBERS OF Education, Training & Membership have vehemently restated the case for making ability to converse in a second language a core objective of the chartered review, despite opposition from the Graduates and Students National Committee.

Chairman of ET&M Peter Guthrie rejected the view of GSNC representative Jonathon Clark that the proposal was 'hastily' conceived and urged GSNC to reconsider its view.

'The idea that the requirement should not be a core objective is very backward looking. As for the suggestion that the ICE has been hasty, I'll take that home with me,' said Guthrie amid laughter.

'For the level we are talking about it seems incredible that this has become such an issue. My son has just taken GCSE French which is the standard we are talking about for the core requirement. His ability to speak is absolutely excellent. Much more emphasis is placed nowadays on oral skills in the modern day exam.'

Opinions expressed included fervent support from David Rogers, 'I would like to extend the suggestion to include associate members,' and an historical perspective from James Geddes: 'I graduated almost 50 years ago and one of my training requirements was a European language which was a written exam.' Chairman of the Joint Board of Moderators David Nethercot asserted that the requirement would not be a big hurdle to the modern candidate. 'The level pitched at is extremely low for the sort of person we expect to come forward in the future. '

Peter Guthrie said civil engineers could not reject the proposal on the grounds that English is the international language of engineering, citing an at times 'resentful disposition' to members who speak English in their work overseas.

The committee agreed to check before 21 July whether language skills are a requirement of French and German courses.

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