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  2. The English and the Spanish company. A serious problem that requires radical solutions   (15/05/2008)

Este artículo fue escrito originalmente en Spanish. Se ha traducido automáticamente para su comodidad. Se han hecho esfuerzos razonables para proporcionar una traducción precisa; sin embargo, ninguna traducción automática es perfecta, ni es su intención la de sustituir a un traductor humano. El artículo original en Spanish puede verlo en La empresa española y el inglés. Un problema grave que exige soluciones radicales
According to the most optimistic estimates, only 28% of Spanish has a sufficient English domain

The English and the Spanish company. A serious problem that requires radical solutions

April 28, 2008

Spanish companies are faced with a difficulty added to its international expansion with regard to their European competitors: the little knowledge of the English of their employees and young people who are entering the labour market.
Albert Esteves
Bachelor's degree in economics and business. Entrepreneur
' English-speaking travelers of Europe are often surprised at how few Spaniards speak English compared to the other countries they visit in Europe'.

If it has not understood this phrase has not why feel acomplejado. You is part of the overwhelming majority of Spaniards (a 72 per cent according to the Eurobarometer) who confesses to not hold a conversation in English. Spain which puts the European fourth in the ranking of angloanalfabetos, second only to Romania, Greece and Slovakia. If to this we add that most of the 28 percent that claims to know the language of Shakespeare claims to possess a mid-level, without academic accreditation, then it is to get to tremble.

If you are an employer and looking for, say, a Secretary who to respond by telephone to a partner in English, I would advise that it dismissed those resumes that English box figure of mid-level directly. Most likely, that the above candidate can provide little more than the relieved ueitamomenplís.

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But what is most surprising - and most outrageous - is that she, like the vast majority of our students, will have been studying English at school and at the Institute for ten years!. Perhaps even obtained a scholarship to spend a few weeks of summer in England or in Ireland, where it will be known to a lot of Spanish and Italian and be practiced in all, less English.

This is a problem, it is obvious. But his urgent solution is a matter of paramount importance for the future of our businesses and our economy, or rather than the infrastructure or the r & d, perhaps is not so obvious for a large part of public opinion.

Today English is the new 'lingua franca' not only in the business and academic world, but in all kinds of relationships between people with different languages. It is not the Spanish, despite their almost four hundred million speakers. Nor, of course, the French or German, or Chinese Mandarin. The English, and only the English, allows us to travel all over the civilized world with the near certainty to be cared for, or at least understood, in airports, hotels, fairs, museums, universities, and of course, in all international relations between companies.

The first course to banish is that English is a language among the multitude of languages that can be learned in the educational, interchangeable stage with French, German or Arabic. No. knowing more languages it is certainly desirable, but only English is an instrumental material indispensable, as important as mathematics, if not more.

Another common place that we should be unseemly is which implies that the solution lies in broadcast movies in English Subtitled instead of dubbed, as happens in almost all over Europe. This suggestion is usually start with the educational system, and its well-known tendency to outsource responsibility for its failures. It is absurd. Television, as the film, are businesses which are governed by the audience. And in a country with three quarters of angloignorantes the broadcast of programmes in English would tend to reduce the hearing to minimum levels. In any event, screening films in original version will be a natural consequence, in the future, the majority spread of knowledge of the language.

On the other hand, and in view of the regrettable average level of our students, some autonomous governments, as the Government of Catalonia, have decided to try to remedy the situation forcing the University to establish a functional knowledge of Englishadapted to each qualification, to be able to finish the race. It is a well-intentioned and undoubtedly positive step, but not the root of the problem it faces.

The English only allows us to travel all over the civilized world with the near certainty of to be served, or at least understood, any eventuality
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After ten years studying English at school, the majority of young people are unable to keep a fluent conversation
We assume without any complex that the fundamental responsibility in the teaching of English, of mathematics, lies in the educational system and in the stage of compulsory education. It is not an individual option of each student. Neither of their families, who so often are forced to take on major spending to pay for schools of languages, or private classes or stays abroad. And this for the reason that the educational system has not exercised its responsibility with sufficient effectiveness, in the light of the results, which can be described as a global failure of the system. A historical burden, in the words of Rodriguez Zapatero.

In the last electoral campaign, most political parties have promised to tackle this problem decisively. Even one is committed to have it resolved in ten years. This heightened sensitivity is already in itself an achievement. But it is little credible. Much less as the greater part of headliners are not exactly an example in the domain of the English, something unusual in a politician of the twenty-first century. But above all, because the recipe is based mostly on offer English courses to teachers so that they improve their level and can, in turn, improve the students. Or well provide hundreds of thousands of scholarships for students to spend a week of July in Ireland or in Scotland, where will learn both English and Spanish learn the tourists in Benidorm and Torremolinos.

So we are not going to solve the problem. If indeed we want our young people to complete their studies with sufficient English dominance we must undertake more radical and more committed action. To this end, and in all modesty, I venture to suggest some keys.

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The solution is not to give training to our teachers not to give more scholarships for stays abroad. More radical measures are needed
First, it would be desirable to refine the target, although doing so may be little academic. If what it is - and that is - is for students to acquire a level of sufficient standard English as in order to maintain a fluid conversation and understand a written text, we should perhaps speak more than functional English to English language. It is not a matter of nuance, to the contrary. It is crucial to establish the learning programme, which should be based much more on the practical aspects that the knowledge of grammar or spelling.

This should also facilitate the recruitment of native teachers, call them auxiliary or monitors to not offend the sensitivities of our teaching staff at all levels of the educational system. Measure much faster, much less expensive and certainly more efficient than spending resources in providing sufficient language competence to our teachers.

We will have to win, of course, the inevitable resistance of the unions of the Guild, characterized by almost always precede their corporate interests to the community. And that will require political determination and a high degree of social consensus more difficult thing than the latter.

And, finally, to establish a much higher than the current level of demand for access to the University, not only for the title. A sufficient level to ensure that any University can continue without difficulty a lecture given entirely in English. It would be a great advance our universities could hire teachers from any country in the world without the language were, like today, a barrier impassable in the majority of degrees.

May not suffice only with that. Perhaps we will have to add complementary measures such as the creation of bilingual schools, free courses for adults, centers of immersion for the months of summer, etc. But if we do not practice an emergency with urgent and radical action plan, I am afraid that, in ten years, our European visitors will continue to surprise of the small number of Spaniards able to speak English, that is, by the way, the translation of the phrase that started this article, found randomly on the Internet.

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