• Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

Vice Principal announces plans to cut Modern Languages degrees at Aberdeen University 

ByAsia Kane

Nov 28, 2023

Students and staff have recently been informed of plans to cut Modern Languages degrees at the University of Aberdeen.

Senior Vice Principal Karl Leydecker delivered the news in a meeting on 25 October, citing financial deficits as the reason behind the plans.

Members of faculty were shocked at the announcement, claiming that they had not been made aware of any financial difficulties. 

Under the current plans, degrees in French, Spanish, Gaelic and German are slated to be downgraded to electives. These degrees have been offered at the University of Aberdeen for over a century.

The planned cuts come as the University faces a 15-million-pound deficit in its budget.

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Professor Leydecker said: “Falling demand nationally and at the University of Aberdeen for degrees in Modern Languages means that we need to develop plans to ensure the sustainability of language teaching at the University. We have established a Steering Group which will bring forward plans for consultation shortly.”

Staff have launched a campaign to preserve degrees in Modern Languages. 

The campaign involves sending postcards to three members of university management explaining the importance of languages and culture. 

The Spanish and Latin American society (SLA) has promoted the campaign on social media, encouraging students to get involved. 

In an Instagram post, they called the proposed cuts “a desperate attempt to save money” and described language degrees as “incredibly valuable.”

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Commenting on the post, one student said: “I suspect we’re all suffering from a UK Government philosophy that knows the cost of everything but very little about value.”

The post also stressed the importance of teaching culture alongside language.

Under the current plan, culture classes are facing elimination.

The SLA stated that the plan “ill equips students to enter an international and multilingual world.”

The Aberdeen University Students’ Union (AUSA) has also backed the campaign, as have several other student societies.

Vice President for Education Rhiannon Ledwell said: “It is imperative that we identify measures which do not threaten language degrees or staff, but instead benefit and strengthen our programmes.”

One student told The Gaudie: “I would be heartbroken to see so many departments be axed just for the sake of money.”

According to a student of Spanish and Latin American studies, “Languages will never not be important…axing the degree programme can only be a backwards step.”

Aberdeen University New Library 8” by Gordon M Robertson is licensed under CC BY 2.0.