As Londra Gazete, we had started a campaign last year to raise awareness to avoid the withdrawal of Turkish language teaching off GCSE and A Levels. After our petition’s launch, which had received more than 2,000 signatures on change.org, has now paid off that OCR announced that it is withdrawing from the provision of GCSEs and A Levels in the ‘less taught’ languages Persian, Turkish, Portuguese, Dutch, Gujarati and Biblical Hebrew, for strategic reasons. OCR understands that the Department for Education has gained agreements in principle from Pearson to provide Turkish, Portuguese and Gujarati GCSEs and A Levels as well as Biblical Hebrew GCSE and from AQA to provide Biblical Hebrew A Level, subject to the outcome of discussions on subject content.
In the interests of ensuring continuity of service OCR has announced that it will be extending its provision by one additional year in these subjects with last examinations taking place in summer 2019. The last examinations in Dutch and Persian will take place in summer 2018.
OCR’s Chief Executive William Burton said:
“We are delighted that some of these ‘less taught’ languages will continue to be provided. It was not an easy decision to stop offering them and is something we have thought long and hard about.
“I am grateful to the other exam boards for agreeing in principle to ensure continuity and we will do all that we can to ensure a smooth handover of work in progress, existing Intellectual Property Rights and, after consultation, names of schools and examiners that wish to continue.
“It remains a matter of regret that no board was in a position to take on Dutch or Persian. OCR will continue to offer a very broad range of qualifications.”
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:
One of Britain’s strengths is its rich, multicultural nature and ensuring young people have the opportunity to study a wide range of languages is integral to that.
I am delighted that these languages will continue at GCSE and A level. Learning a foreign language opens up a whole world of opportunity and ensures our young people will be able to compete on a global scale.
I also want to thank those exam boards who have worked with us to protect these languages so we will continue to have high quality qualifications available.
David Burrowes MP said “I am delighted that the Conservatives promise before the election and afterwards in July to secure the future of Turkish exams has been delivered. The additional year’s extension to May 2019 and beyond, for the existing courses, will allow the practical details of the new GCSE and A Level courses to be worked out with the exam body OCR. It is excellent also to have the support of Zac Goldsmith the Conservative Candidate for London Mayor. Like Boris he recognises how important it is for London’s economic and cultural future to have community languages like Turkish secure high-quality qualifications.”
Zac Goldsmith MP, Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, said: “I am delighted with the reassurances from the minister to secure the future of GCSE and A Level Turkish as a modern language. It is important both for London’s economic and cultural future to have community languages like Turkish secure high-quality qualifications. They are an important bridge in building social and economic ties between partner countries.”
After the announcement, Turkish Language, Culture and Education Consurtium president Kelami Dedezade said “We did not only represent Turkish language’s freedom at our meetings, but all other minorities’ languages as well”. Mr Dedezade also stated that the exams will be launched by Edexcel Pearson by 2020 as well.