Coleraine Ulster Unionist councillor William McCandless has expressed his shock at the announcement that Ulster University is to close its School of Modern Languages at Coleraine due to budget cuts.
Councillor McCandless said; “This decision is clearly the result of the budget agreed at Stormont by the DUP and Sinn Fein but the closure of the School of Modern Languages is a desperately short-sighted decision. “We constantly hear employers telling us that young people and graduates are seeking to gain entry to the workforce without the skills required in the modern global environment. Surely the ability to communicate effectively in languages such as French, German and Spanish is precisely the type of skills required to prepare graduates to take up positions in the increasingly important European workplace?
“I am also concerned as to the potential implications which this decision may have for the Confucius Institute which was officially launched just over three years ago. Europe is key to economic growth and development, but there is no question that in the 21st Century the economic growth of China – already the world’s second economic power – will provide huge opportunities which we must seize.
“It is a source of great frustration that resources appear to be plentiful when it comes to attempts to promote the Irish Language which is declining in usage even in the Gaeltacht areas of the Republic of Ireland, yet we seem incapable of providing the resources necessary to enable our young people to learn modern languages which would provide them with the opportunity to work throughout the European Union and in the increasingly globalised workplace of the 21st Century.”