Scottish Parliament to Debate University of Aberdeen Language Cuts

Students Union Vice President for Education Rhiannon Ledwell

FOLLOWING cross-party support from more than 30 MSPs, a motion to stop the controversial consultation and save language degrees at the University of Aberdeen is tabled for discussion at Holyrood today (Tuesday 16th January).

The motion, submitted by Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart in December last year, and backed by additional SNP, Green, and Labour party members, references the widespread support for retaining language teaching at the University from students, staff, alumni, Gaelic organisations and even several international consulates. This comes off the back of the Scottish Languages Bill introduced in November to protect and strengthen Gaelic language provision.

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On the same day representatives from the Students’ Union will meet separately with Minister for Higher and Further Education, Graeme Dey, to discuss the issue in more depth.

Students’ Union Vice President for Education Rhiannon Ledwell said:

“Currently dozens of jobs and 60% of courses could be axed following ‘at risk’ letters which were sent out to all staff in the language department in the lead up to Christmas.

“There is a shortage of language teachers in Scotland, and drastic cuts at the one hub for teacher training in the Northeast will only worsen the situation further. This is even more dire for Gaelic. As one of just four institutions in the country with a degree in the language, removing any Gaelic provisions will have devastating consequences for a minority language.

“Chronic underfunding by the UK Government has led to unsustainable financial circumstances throughout the Higher Education sector and unfortunately the University of Aberdeen is no exception.

“We now need the Scottish Government to intervene and stop this botched consultation, enabling a new long-term plan that takes into account all of the data and seriously considers viable alternatives which could save jobs and language degrees.”

Students and alumni will travel to the capital to lend their support with demonstrations expected to take place outside the Scottish Parliament building.

Visit for more information, or to get involved in campaigning.

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