Written by Emma Graney for The Leader Post, February 23, 2013:
Business students in Saskatchewan will soon be encouraged to take more foreign languages.
The government is developing an international education strategy, a big part of which aims to better connect Saskatchewan students with international trade and business markets.
And that, says David Boehm, assistant deputy minister of the advanced education, means focusing on foreign languages.
“It’s a priority, because Saskatchewan … is very connected to the world – we’re a very export-dependant province – so enhanced relationships will be very important and will serve the province very well in the future,” he said.
“One of the ways to enhance those relationships is encourage business programs … to put an emphasis on the development of international languages so they can interact with those markets and those opportunities in a more effective manner.”
University of Regina business faculty dean Andrew Gaudes agrees a focus on languages can only be a good thing for business students.
Having taught abroad in Egypt, Kyiv and France, Gaudes knows firsthand the benefits international relationships can bring to the business world, particularly when it comes to languages.
“We know that this is an area that’s going to be more in demand as students graduate into business and industry,” he said.
“We are definitely a global marketplace here in Saskatchewan and our students need to be able to … appreciate what is going on in other parts of the world, and that includes having a working level of a second language.”
At this point, it’s not clear how much money the government will funnel into its strategy.