Will you join me and sign this open letter to Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, calling on the teaching and examination of Urdu to be protected in the UK? #SaveUrdu
We are writing to encourage you to take urgent steps to protect the teaching of Urdu in England.
There is a strong possibility that A Level Urdu will be phased out in 2017 - which would be a significant loss both to the citizens of the UK who use and value the language and to our relationships with Urdu speakers across the globe.
Since 2010, there has already been a 25% fall in the number of students taking Urdu at A Level.
There is considerable uncertainty as to whether any exam board will offer A Level exams in Urdu from 2017 onwards, although I understand that one exam board is currently in discussion with your department. We urge you to ensure that the exam board agrees to offer Urdu A Level qualifications beyond September 2017.
Urdu is the native language of over 65 million speakers worldwide, particularly focused in Pakistan and India. Both states are vital trading partners to the UK and in a globalised world, the ability to converse with communities, businesses and family across the world is vital if Britain is going to succeed. Equally, many in Harrow and across the UK feel a strong connection with Pakistan and India, and Urdu is vital in order for them to retain community links in their mother tongue.
We urge you to offer support to encourage examination bodies to continue the A Level course and to support the ongoing professional development of Urdu teachers, similar to the sort that is available to all teachers in mainstream state schools, to ensure every British child who chooses is able to benefit from an education in Urdu.
We thank you for your attention,
Gareth Thomas MP
Member of Parliament for Harrow West