Last week, Britain’s Jewish community stirred debate about the government’s proposal to exclude Hebrew from its list of recognized languages for primary school education. Under the proposal, only seven languages would be recognized as compulsory learning for primary schools, including Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, Latin and ancient Greek. Hebrew was not included.
When I first heard about this proposal, I thought to myself, “No big deal. I understand the British government – Hebrew is spoken by a relatively measly number of people in comparison to Mandarin Chinese or Spanish. Why should someone learn Hebrew when they can learn a language spoken by a billion people?”
After all, the majority of schools in England should not bow to minority pressure to teach minority languages. Growing up in the United States, I never expected my public middle school or high school to teach Hebrew. A Hebrew language program in the South would have made no sense, as the majority of immigrants in the area spoke languages like Spanish or Korean. Indeed, a career-focused school would emphasize languages like those spoken by multi-millions or billions of people rather than a language like Hebrew which is spoken by only a few million Israelis and Jews.
Read More: @ haaretz.com
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