No worse in Wales 1

September 9, 2005

The reference in Roger Woods' Soapbox article about the funding of modern foreign languages in Wales being "worse than in England" is misleading (September 2).

At the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, we allocate funding through 11 academic subject categories, which renders problematic any simple comparison with the Higher Education Funding Council for England's four price groups. From these, we build up a block grant that universities spend according to their priorities. In so doing, they will consider the cost of offering a subject and their strategic objectives in respect of individual subject areas. If institutions mechanically transmitted to departments the nominal figures used by funding councils to build up a block grant, one would have to wonder why universities, as such, existed at all.

As to expecting "even more pressure" on language departments in Wales than in England, Woods may be unaware that we have completed a thorough review of modern foreign languages. This showed that the problems faced in Wales are less acute overall than elsewhere in the UK.

Philip Gummett

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