Anger at language cuts

May 28, 2009

We are writing to support protests against decisions made by Imperial College London in the light of government funding cuts. One consequence is a proposed reduction in college-funded foreign-language teaching classes from 85 to 35 per week.

These classes are valued by undergraduates and by postgraduates. This year, some 1,350 undergraduates studied a foreign language at Imperial College. Particularly severely affected by the proposals are Arabic, Italian, Japanese and Russian, which Imperial finds itself no longer able to fund.

At a time when foreign language-speaking scientists and technologists are needed in industry, commerce, the Civil Service, the Armed Services and education, the Government should be gravely concerned by this unintended consequence of its cuts to the budget of the UK's premier institution for scientific research and education.

Hugh Baker, emeritus professor of Chinese, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

John Flood, emeritus professor of German, University of London

Sabry Hafez, emeritus professor of Arabic literature, Soas, University of London

Ian Press, emeritus professor of Russian, University of St Andrews

Lucio Sponza, emeritus professor of Italian, University of Westminster.

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