Wednesday, 9 September 2015
Many readers will already have heard the alarming news that the University of Ulster is to end the teaching of modern languages, including Irish — as well as, perhaps even more bizarrely, doing away with single-honours maths.
Some may take the view that if a "university" decides to scratch such courses and continues to think itself worthy of the name, that's its affair. However, UU was always a university, not an upgraded polytechnic, and Irish is not like other languages. For a start, it isn't foreign, and the course is of great importance to the successful implementation of public policy on linguistic diversity, cross-community relations and perhaps peace itself.
Damningly, the proposed cuts come at a time when the university is planning to spend hundreds of millions on a new Belfast campus only a few miles away from its current one at Jordanstown, and when its vice-chancellor is trousering £250,000 a year.
A petition at change.org has already attracted hundreds of signatures.