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SELECTIVIDAD EXAM (17)
Examen de Selectividad (17)
(Lee las instructiones para el examen)

Un ejercicio para 2º Bachillerato
(An exercise for Advanced students.)

Lee el texto y contesta las preguntas. Cuidado con la puntuación y las mayúsculas.
(Read the text and answer the questions. Pay attention to punctuation and capital letters.)

FOREIGN LANGUAGES, THE 'PRIVILEGE OF ELITE'

Foreign language lessons are becoming the privilege of elite and rich children, a Government adviser warns today, as figures showed another decline in teenagers studying the subject.
According to Kathryn Board, chief executive of the National Centre for Languages, the blame for the decline in languages at the age of 14 is not due to lack of interest from pupils but to their over-full curriculum. Ms Board said she was worried about this continuing decline. “In the long term we’re disadvantaging our young people in the world of employment,” she said. “And, in the end, we will also harm our own economic situation and recovery.”
Ms Board believes that there is a growing elitism around languages. According to her, “that cultural understanding, as well as the pleasure of speaking a language, is very active and lively in the independent sector but in the state school* sector there seems to be decreasing very quickly. The elitism bothers me because languages must be for all.” Thus, the figures reveal that, contrary to *state schools, independent schools are promoting the learning of French, Spanish and German. Spanish seems to be increasing in popularity, at the expense of German, even though the latter is important to more employers. Ms Board explained that Spanish is seen as a more sexy and attractive language to teenagers, because of pop stars like Shakira, and the number of British people living and working in Spain.
Ms Board also criticised the Government for its obsession with promoting science and maths, admitting these were important subjects but saying: “We need our linguists as well.” She said monolingual British graduates were losing out in the job market to foreign competitors, and that the European Commission was desperate to employ more native English speakers fluent in another language.
(Adapted from Times, 21st January 2010)
*State schools= Schools supported by government money.