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The importance of multilingualism in the Macao SAR

*José Pereira Coutinho

In addition to the teaching of official languages (bilingualism), which must be preserved due to the enormous psychosocial advantages, and even in cognitive and educational terms, which are currently widely recognized by the specialist literature, the teaching of more foreign languages constitutes an added value for the employability of young people – precisely because they are able to communicate in several languages. These will be easily integrated into a highly competitive labor market at a local, regional or even international level, facilitating their personal and professional mobility and creating many business opportunities. In international trade, mastery of languages will be an important tool for understanding values, culture and customs, guaranteeing commercial contracts based on mutual trust.

In addition to mastering one’s mother tongue, the ability to communicate in other languages is, in the increasingly interdependent world we live in, an added value for full integration into the increasingly global labor market that is not confined, today, to to national borders. Furthermore, mastering communication skills in several languages enhances the broadening of worldviews, as it allows access to other cultures, other values, ways of living, thinking, traveling and intercommunicating.

Worldwide, there is no longer any doubt about the importance of promoting language learning, which, in addition to creating personal and professional opportunities, promotes cultural awareness, mutual understanding and social cohesion, broadening one’s vision and horizons. From a cognitive point of view, many renowned linguists maintain that learning a new lexicon and new structures results in enormous enrichment leading to greater academic success for the student, allowing to obtain good results in tests and exams, improve results in mathematics and improve logical reasoning for problem solving.

Practice shows that at a company level, employees with language and intercultural skills are a vital resource, helping companies succeed and grow in world markets.

It is then up to the competent authorities in the educational, economic and social areas of the Macao SAR to implement these goals. This through the organization of activities directly related to multilingualism, encompassing all civil society, including public and private universities, through conferences and seminars dedicated to the importance of multilingualism, panel discussions, online events, as well as the elaboration of evidence-based policies.

*Association of Civil Service Workers of Macao

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