Kingston University languages courses face closure

Spanish and French courses closures mean Kingston students could face missing out on future career opportunities.

Lily Meyer 

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Kingston University’s plans to scrap vital language courses means students could miss out on job opportunities in business. 

KU Spanish and French courses, which are currently being reviewed, are no longer open to applications on UCAS and could close at the end of this year.

A spokesperson for the CBI (Confederation of British Industry)said: “French is the most important language in business and Spanish is the third.  There is a great demand for language skills in the business sector and we would certainly encourage students to carry on studying these languages.”

Business opportunities

Graham Waterman, company director of international property business, Broker Sa Llampuga, said: “Anyone who can speak these languages will have a better chance at succeeding in business. Kingston is taking away a great opportunity from their students, they should be encouraging them to learn a language – not closing down the courses.”

Although the university has said that the courses are only being reviewed and are not going to be closed for certain, a source from the university disagrees.

She said: “Although the university insists the courses are just being reviewed I suspect they will close the main courses as each year less and less students opt to study these languages.”

However Spanish and French are not the only courses to suffer a drop in applications.  Garden design, design studies, sport science and mobile computing are just a few of the other courses that have had a significant fall in applications this year. Additionally, in the academic year 2011/2012, 29 courses were closed across all the faculties.

Course closures

A university spokeswoman said: “The garden design course was validated by Kingston University but taught at Guildford College but we will not be validating this course after next year. With regards to the design studies course, it started in 2009 but did not grow as much as expected. A decision was taken this year to remove it from the course portfolio.

Courses are removed from the portfolio for a variety of reasons, sometimes because they are not recruiting well and do not seem to be meeting either student or employer needs, often for other reasons including the ending of partnerships or courses being subsumed into other courses which have been expanded or developed.”

One Kingston lecturer said: “To be completely honest I do not even know what is happening myself yet. I am not sure what my job position will be next year or what I will be teaching. I hope we get informed soon as it is not just us that are being kept in the dark but also the students. 

New students who have applied to the less popular courses may not be told the courses are not running until it is too late for them to apply elsewhere. They need to get organised.”

KLS still an option

It is suspected that if the French and Spanish courses do close, students will be able to continue studying French and Spanish through KLS. KLS (Kingston Language Scheme) allows students to study a language for credit or just for fun and includes the opportunity to learn French, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, Mandarin and Arabic.

However, these classes are usually taught between 5-8pm, consist of large groups and follow a more basic curriculum.

The source added: “One semester of the KLS scheme is only worth a maximum of 15 credits for a student so they are going to have to change it a great deal if it is going to worth the same amount as a minor field. It is also inconvenient for students to come to classes in the evening so hopefully if this does happen they will make the classes earlier.”

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