B1 in English – perhaps it’s not such a bad idea after all
El Plan Bolonia requires all Spanish university students to have a B1 level in a second language in order to complete their studies, leading to a massive increase in the number of young adults attending classes, but also a shift in motivation and purpose. Few people now come to an academy saying, “I want to learn English” but rather “I need B1”, which is often followed by a “pero ya” (right now) in Cádiz.
Most people choose English rather than a different second language as they have had more English in their mainstream education, although El Plan Bolonia doesn’t specify which language should be taken.
There are a number of pros and cons to the scheme, but this morning on the bus, whilst listening to a couple of mothers talking about their children’s homework, it occurred to me that this push for B1 could have positive repercussions for the next generation. Those parents who have studied to B1 level may feel more able and ready to help their children with their English homework, something which they often find difficult nowadays. However, the pessimist in me then asks whether this could lead to even more disparity in English levels in schools…