Academic posts in French are booming, especially at professorial level, after a two-year decline, according to an analysis of advertisements in The THES.
Mike Kelly, professor of French at Southampton University and the chairman of the UK Council for Modern Languages, presented the analysis to the annual conference of the Association of University Professors and Heads of French.
Professor Kelly said that the total number of posts advertised in six months from 1994/95 was 62 compared to 38 for a similar period in the previous year. These ranged from chairs, which virtually doubled, to teaching assistant jobs. The year total is expected to be between 125 and 155.
"The number of chairs has risen to twice the level of previous years with 12 chairs advertised since September. Added to last year's bumper crop, this means that in all 22 chairs have been advertised in the 18 months since 1993, five of them open to other modern languages," Professor Kelly said.
Jill Forbes, who holds a chair of French at Bristol University and is the president of the AUPHF, said a generation of academics was retiring and also French was proving popular in schools thanks to the National Curriculum.