THOUSANDS of people have signed a petition in a bid to save modern languages degrees at a Scottish university.

We previously told how the University of Aberdeen is planning major cutbacks to its modern languages department, risking its potential closure and the end of honours programmes in Gaelic, German, French and Spanish.

The university is one of just four across the world which offers a degree in Gaelic with the senior management team putting forward a number of potential options which include:

  • Discontinue single honours in French, Gaelic, German and Spanish and rationalise the programme offering to reduce the number of courses required to deliver the remaining joint honours provision.
  • Discontinue single and joint honours French, Gaelic, German and Spanish programmes but retain a suite of ‘with language’ programmes (for example, International Business with French).
  • Discontinue all programmes which have a named language component but continue to offer language courses that could be taken by students as elective courses where this can be accommodated in their degree programme. This would typically be at first year and to a lesser extent second year level of studies.

The petition – which can be found HERE reads: “We call on the University of Aberdeen to remove the threat of redundancy for languages staff and re-commit to the single and joint honours degrees programmes and sustained study courses currently offered.

READ MORE: Reversing language decline ‘crucial’ for independent Scotland in EU

“We also call on the University of Aberdeen to work on reasonable terms with its existing dedicated, experienced and highly-regarded staff in Languages, Translation & Interpreting and appropriate external bodies, such as the UCFL, to develop creative strategies that don’t cut off part of the University’s core charitable mission and address the financial situation on reasonable terms.”

More than 4000 people have already signed the petition, which was only set live on December 4.

The Aberdeen University Scottish Nationalist Association has already announced a “cross-party, cross-society” student campaign to protest against the proposals.

The group has already written an open letter to Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth (below) and the Minister for Higher and Further Education Graeme Day.

The National:

A decision on which of the three proposals to adopt is expected to be made on January 15.

A spokesperson for the University of Aberdeen previously told The National: “The university remains committed to a long-term strategy for sustaining Gaelic education provision in partnership with other universities, the Scottish Funding Council, Education Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig."