Minority report

April 16, 2004

There is no "dwindling student demand" for East Asian studies ("Closures leave UK with 'unhealthy' lack of Arabists", April 2).

At Durham, applications for Chinese and Japanese courses grew by more than 10 per cent a year from 2000 onwards. Last year, our department of East Asian studies exceeded its quota of 44, in spite of the closure announcement.

In view of the number of secondary schools teaching Chinese and Japanese, and the excellent employment prospects, this growing demand looks set to continue, provided attractive courses are available to applicants.

The problem is not the lack of students, but the lack of money to fund higher cost "minority" subjects.

Don Starr
Head, department of East Asian studies, Durham University

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