Alappuzha: Malayalam is 8th in the list of top ten fastest-growing foreign first languages spoken in English schools in UK, according to a report.
The report "English is now second language in one in nine schools after influx of Eastern Europeans" published by reputed Daily Mail on February 21 says Malayalam has seen the steepest increase of almost 153 percent in the last five years. Romanian is at the top spot with a rise of 527 per cent.
Malayalam is also the only Asian language to occupy a place in table, the rest languages being from Eastern Europe.
‘Pupils whose first language is Romanian have risen by 527 per cent in last five years ranking first. The second highest increase in pupils with English as a second language was among Latvians (414 percent) followed by Hungarians (359 percent). The number of languages spoken currently in English schools is 309”, it says quoting the Education Department figures.
According to the report, between 2008 and 2013 the number of Malayali pupils almost doubled from 4030 to 10180 while Eastern European students tripled from 44,000 to 123,000.
Quoting UK’s National Statistics, the report further says, “last year five primary schools were identified as not having a single pupil whose mother tongue is English. There were also 240 schools where at least 90 per cent of children grew up learning another language. The languages and dialects spoken in primary and secondary schools is now ranging from Afrikaans to Amharic, from Ethiopia, to Shqip, from Albania and Kosovo, and Zulu”.
The report says educating children who do not speak English as their mother tongue also puts a huge financial strain on schools. The report warns quoting a think-tank of the strain on resources was damaging the education of both English children and those from migrant families.
“In too many cases our schools are simply not set up to accommodate very high proportions of children who start school without fluent English. Those who lose out most in this scenario are migrant pupils as they don’t receive adequate opportunities to develop their English language skills and are therefore at risk of going through the education system at a significant disadvantage”, it says.