Nearly 30 percent of State Department employees based overseas in "language-designated positions" are failing to speak and write the local language well enough to meet required levels, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.I'm not sure which one is a more depressing commentary on the state of U.S. education and literacy -- the 30 percent figure or the fact that a State Department report actually used the silly, sophomoric term "superhard."
"We have a shortage of people with language skills in posts that need them," said John Brummet, assistant director for international affairs and trade at the GAO. "If people do not have the proper language skills, it is difficult to influence the people and government and to understand what they are thinking. It just doesn't get the job done."
Languages described as "superhard" by the report are proving particularly difficult. Four out of 10 workers in posts requiring Arabic, Chinese and Japanese fail to meet the requirements.
Monday, August 14, 2006
Unknown | Monday, August 14, 2006 |