It should be compulsory to teach languages to all children at schools across the UK, a Lords EU committee has said.
The committee called on the government to address what it called the "lack of mobility culture" by making the teaching of languages compulsory in all primary and secondary schools in the UK.
According to a new report published by the committee, the UK's poor standard of language education in comparison with other European countries is having a detrimental effect on higher education students.
Students are missing out on the opportunity of studying abroad because language education is not promoted enough and the government has been urged to remedy the situation.
The Modernisation and Higher Education in Europe report was published today (March 22nd) following an extensive study by the Lords Social Policies and Consumer Protection EU Sub-Committee.
Examining the effects of modernisation within the European higher education system, the committee found that UK students are missing out on the benefits offered by Erasmus university exchange programmes.
It warned the government that unless action was taken to remedy the poor quality languages education in the UK, future involvement in such programmes would not be guaranteed.
Chairman of the committee, Baroness Young of Hornsey, commented: "The Erasmus programme … enjoys a strong reputation across Europe and which helps to deliver the kind of well-rounded graduates we want to see entering the job market.
"However, the UK's participation has been historically low compared to other large Member States.
"Making language learning compulsory in both primary and secondary school would be one way of increasing the UK's participation in addition to taking steps to ensure a more diverse range of participants."
Should the committee's recommendations to make language education compulsory be taken on board by the Department for Education, it could lead to a rush to recruit people to fill new language teaching vacancies.
At the Conservative Party Conference last year, education secretary Michael Gove said he would like every child above the age of five to be learning a foreign language at school.
Posted by Theo Foulds