It was reported in the local press yesterday that more than half of Mallorca’s fourteen-year-olds have a level of English below the average. The same report says that the levels of Catalán and Castellano (the language commonly known outside of Spain as Spanish), which are the two official languages of the island, are worse than ten years ago for the same age group. One in four of these young people is not able to communicate fluently in their native languages. It’s hardly surprising that the level of English is not good if young people don’t have a good command of their own languages.

I wonder if this report is a reflection of a much wider problem that exists way beyond the shores of this little island. If young people are not being successful in the development of communication skills then I believe that they stand a good chance of missing out on many future opportunities in various aspects of life. Their career options are an obvious area for concern but so are the social aspects of their lives. Society, in general, becomes impoverished.

In today’s news from Barcelona, I hear that five thousand children between the ages of eight and twelve years are auditioning to enter the latest TV Masterchef Junior competition in Spain. Is this the future that we want for our kids? Television fame, whether as a chef, singer, dancer or other talent comes to very few but seems to be desired by so many. Parents and grandparents are seen encouraging their young ones in these goals or dreams but there is usually just one winner.

Almost anyone can be a winner with their education if the system serves them and family supports and encourages them, at any stage of life. Young people need good role-models who set good examples and I’m not sure that they are getting enough of them.

 

 

 

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