The University of Aberdeen has said it “will continue to teach and value languages”, ahead of a rally to “defend” modern language courses which face being axed.
The university is considering scrapping courses including single and joint honours in French, Gaelic, German and Spanish, or just offering elective language courses to students who would primarily be first years.
It has said the current low uptake of language courses is causing losses of more than £1.5m per year, and on November 30 announced a consultation into possible cuts.
There will be 27 full time equivalent students beginning this year, with 28 full time equivalent staff members, compared with 2021 when 62 full time students were enrolled in modern language undergraduate courses, and 46 full time students last year.
More than 10,000 people signed a petition opposing the proposals, and UCU general secretary Jo Grady called it “academic vandalism”.
A rally to “defend” modern languages will be held at 6pm on Monday on the Old Aberdeen Campus, where MSP Maggie Chapman will speak alongside UCU Aberdeen and Aberdeen University Students’ Association representatives.
The statement said: “The university absolutely understands how passionately colleagues, students and many members of the wider public feel about modern languages, including Gaelic.
“The consultation on modern languages was launched to address the financial unsustainability of current provision (losses of over £1.5m a year). This is the result of low and declining recruitment to degree programmes in modern languages at Aberdeen.
“The university has always made clear that it will continue to teach and value languages, and we are grateful to all those who are sending us their views and ideas on how we can do this in a sustainable way.
“The University Court will discuss the consultation under way with regard to future provision in modern languages at its meeting on Tuesday.”
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