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Report Urges Foreign Studies Centers

Recommends foreign Language Requirements

By Wendy L. Wall

A presidential commission recently recommended reinstating foreign language requirements in high schools and universities and developing a network of centers devoted to international studies.

The President's Commission on Foreign Languages and International Studies urged funding for the establishment and support of 200 campus and 65 to 85 national centers of international studies.

It also recommended that international studies programs be included in standardized school programs, that standardized foreign language proficiency exams be developed, that schools with students in third- and fourth-year language courses be given additional funds. If the legislation for funding of these programs passes Congress, Harvard programs, such as the Center for international Affairs, could receive money.

Most schools would benefit if they comply with the report's foreign language recommendations, Wilga M. Rivers, coordinator of instruction in the Romance Languages and one of the Harvard faculty members who made presentations at the commission's hearings, said yesterday. But she added she believes "the inventive grant is a cop-out. There's no quality control built in."

University Professor Edwin O. Reischauer, director of the Japan Institute and a member of the commission, said yesterday the primary aim of the report was to stimulate educators and other groups to action. "What the national government could do would be fairly limited," he said, adding that the government does not have the authority to set national standards for degree requirements.

Reischauer said that he doubts the University would change its requirements because under the Core Curriculum's foreign cultures area. "We're out in the lead already."

The report will probably have little effect on the Business School, Lawrence E. Fouraker, dean of the Faculty of Business Administration, said yesterday. The school, which already offers a variety of courses on international business, also maintains extensive programs in foreign countries, he added.

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