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Help Save Languages

in New Zealand


I am a postgraduate student in the German programme at Victoria University. Please forgive me for taking your email addresses from the school website like this, but this is matter of great importance to me, and, I believe, to you.

Yesterday a change proposal was released for the School of Languages and Cultures announcing staff cuts.

European languages are being cut as follows: Spanish 18%, French 25%, Italian 33%, German 43%.

This is a deliberate move on the part of the university’s upper management that is positioning the languages for failure. With only two academic staff members for most of the languages and no tutors, the language programmes will be forced to close within  3-5 years. The same cuts have happened at Otago, and languages are no longer offered as majors at Canterbury.

Do you want your current students to be able to take languages as part of their degrees in international relations, business, economics, foreign policy, development studies, tourism? Do you want them to study foreign literature as well as English literature? They may not be able to.

If this matters to you, please send an email to to protest these changes and to stress the value and importance of language learning. Group submissions are welcome and teachers from HVHS could submit as a group. Students currently studying languages and hoping to take them at university could also submit as a class or sign a joint petition against these cuts. This may also be a way of sparking their interest in politics or discussion about the relevance of humanities.

I am happy to provide the full change proposal and documents that are currently open for consultation to anyone who would like them. Please feel free to forward this information to anyone you think may be affected by or interested in this.

Best regards,
Charlotte Simmonds