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Equality: Education

Volume 487: debated on Monday 9 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what assessment he has made of the merits of teaching intercultural competencies; (253726)

(2) whether his Department plans to issue guidance to its agencies on the use of the descriptors of key competencies for intercultural communication in the design and implementation of curricula at all levels of education, including teacher training.

[holding answer 2 February 2009]: It is crucial that young people have the right skills to compete in an increasingly fast changing global economy. Communication skills in other languages, combined with an understanding and appreciation of other cultures, will become increasingly important for the jobs of the future. We have made no specific assessment of this issue and have no plans to issue specific guidance to schools on intercultural competencies. However, intercultural understanding is a key concept within compulsory language learning for 11 to 14-year-olds, where pupils learn to appreciate other cultures, recognise different ways of seeing the world, develop an international look and communicate with native speakers where possible.

Citizenship education equips pupils with the knowledge and skills needed for effective and democratic participation. This includes such areas as the changing nature of UK society, the diversity of ideas, beliefs, cultures, identities, traditions, perspectives and values that are shared; migration to, from and within the UK and the reasons for this, the UK’s relations with the European Union and the rest of Europe, the Commonwealth, the United Nations and the world as a global community.