The Guardian 13 March 2007
The crisis in modern language teaching - Case studies
Portuguese may disappear from the first-year timetable at
The university has been surprised at the anger this has provoked and has retreated somewhat. Dr Kate Pretty, pro vice-chancellor, admits
Pretty is quick to point out that the proposal was aired because of stretched teaching capacity, rather than falling student demand. "Portuguese will not be axed," she says. "We need to make our provision fit the teaching capacity." There are no changes afoot for other languages, such as Russian and Czech, she says.
Her outlook for modern languages at universities, whether at degree level or as an extra-curricular activity, is mixed.
"I think universities are beginning to see the effects of being able to drop languages at school before GCSE. We have a very active language centre where you can study up to 150 languages at basic to advanced level. More and more students are making use of this."At the same time, we used to have a set of lower-level certificates for languages that were the equivalent to a GCSE. Students don't seem to want to do this so much any more."
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