Glasgow University urged not to cut courses

For immediate release 15 February 2011

The Green MSPs today lodged a motion at Holyrood ahead of a vote at Glasgow University Court tomorrow on axing undergraduate courses, including many modern European languages, nursing and anthropology. The motion criticises the shortage of time for consultation and urges the Court to rethink their proposals. The British Academy recently set out the urgency of the case for protecting language courses in particular. 

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"The current range of language courses taught at Glasgow University are an essential part of the university's educational mission, and it would be a serious act of vandalism to cut them, especially after just eight days of consultation. Frankly bizarre proposals are also on the table to cut social work, nursing, adult learning and anthropology. The Court must take this opportunity to think again and Scottish Ministers must also act to protect these courses by properly funding higher education. 

"Ministers and university principals alike always talk about how important language teaching is for Scotland and for the students themselves, given the globalised world we live in, and they're right. That would make any vote to cut a particularly perverse decision, and one it would be hard for the University to recover from in future."

The motion in Patrick Harvie's name reads as follows:

Proposed Glasgow University Cuts - That the Scottish Parliament expresses deep concern regarding cost-cutting proposals at Glasgow University in a number of areas including the proposed reduction of the number of modern languages available for study to two or at most three, which would mean the cessation of teaching of Russian, Polish, Czech, Portuguese, German and potentially Italian; notes the alarmingly short notice given to potentially affected staff and students at Glasgow University; considers that these proposals do not take account of the importance of language learning in higher education for the health of Britain’s economy and future business prosperity that has been highlighted by a number of recent reports; recognises that many universities feel forced to make cuts because of the political choices made by Scottish and UK Governments to cut higher education funding; calls on the Scottish Government to protect higher education against this agenda of cuts, and to work with the Principal of Glasgow University to prevent the destruction of entire courses in modern languages, nursing, anthropology, social work and adult education and to begin a new, meaningful consultation process with staff and students to seek mutually acceptable alternatives which would safeguard university education for the long term.