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Seòmar agus comataidhean

Protecting Language Study at the University of Aberdeen

  • Submitted by: Mercedes Villalba, North East Scotland, Scottish Labour.
  • Date lodged: Tuesday, 28 November 2023
  • Submitting member has a registered interest.

  • Motion reference: S6M-11474

That the Parliament notes reports of an announcement made to staff on 23 October 2023 of forthcoming radical changes to the provision of language study at the University of Aberdeen; understands that the proposal to withdraw the offer of honours degrees in languages, cultures and societies would make Aberdeen the only ancient university in the UK without this provision; considers that students from north and north east Scotland would be substantially disadvantaged by being unable to study language degrees in their region, and that any withdrawal of the honours degree provision would have a damaging impact on the training and recruitment of secondary school language teachers across the north and north east of Scotland; believes that the university currently employs 25 members of staff in relation to the teaching of languages on degree programmes in French, Gaelic, German, and Spanish; further believes that any future job losses or reduction in staff numbers would have an impact on the local economy, as well as for the individuals affected and their families; considers that the market-based arguments reportedly made by senior management to support calls for such reductions in teaching are refuted by staff who, it understands, contend that Scottish student numbers remain relatively stable and that courses are economically viable, in light of the proper recruitment support and development opportunities that exist, including internationally, and calls on the university to engage fully with its branch of the University and College Union (UCU), with a view to avoiding redundancies and maintaining as full a programme of language teaching, degrees and research as possible.

Supported by: Alasdair Allan, Jackie Baillie, Neil Bibby, Sarah Boyack, Ariane Burgess, Maggie Chapman, Foysol Choudhury, Alex Cole-Hamilton, Pam Duncan-Glancy, Jim Fairlie, Clare Haughey, Monica Lennon, Richard Leonard, Gillian Mackay, Ben Macpherson, Michael Marra, Ivan McKee, Pauline McNeill, Alex Rowley, Mark Ruskell, Anas Sarwar, Colin Smyth, Kaukab Stewart, Paul Sweeney, Michelle Thomson, Martin Whitfield