Linguists angered by course closures

December 20, 2002

Language specialists say a funding review is increasingly urgent following a decision to axe German degrees at Stirling University and a feared threat to Slavonic studies at Glasgow University.

Stirling's court this week agreed to pull out of honours degrees in German, but said it intended to maintain some German teaching in its school of modern languages. Glasgow will decide the fate of Slavonic studies by March, but said it would have to scrutinise what courses were sustainable.

The University Council of Modern Languages Scotland argued that institutions suffer a shortfall of about £2,000 for each student. A Scottish Higher Education Funding Council spokesperson said: "For the current academic year, we have increased the volume of funded places and funding per student in the humanities, languages and business subject group. We have also allocated an extra £1 million to the subject group."

* Language students drafted into schools to help with teaching will be offered credits towards future teacher-training courses.

The move, part of the government's Languages for All strategy launched this week, will build on the Languages Assistants Programme, which provides incentives for languages students.

Undergraduate incentives and other strategies directed at schools will be backed by government investment, which will rise to £10 million a year by 2005-06.

A long-term aim of the strategy is to increase numbers studying languages in further and higher education.

The Teacher Training Agency has announced a big increase in the number of courses to train primary language teachers. From September, the number will be almost doubled to 365 French places. The TTA will also develop courses in Spanish and German for nearly 100 trainees.

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