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Sir Tom Stoppard leads Parliament protest against language funding cuts

20 September 2011 | last updated: 11 December 2015

The playwright, Sir Tom Stoppard, will present a petition demanding ring-fenced funding for vulnerable modern languages to the Scottish Parliament today at 2pm.

As the 3,000-strong petition is officially considered by the petitions' committee, members of the University and College Union (UCU) Scotland will lobby MSPs for the funding to protect and promote the teaching of languages and cultures, including Russian, Czech and Polish, at Scottish universities.

UCU says the Scottish Funding Council must maintain a diverse subject provision in Scottish universities to ensure Scottish students can pursue their dreams in Scotland. The union warns that if courses disappear from Scottish institutions then Scottish students will be forced to meet the spiralling costs of tuition in other parts of the UK, or reconsider their options.

UCU Scotland President, Gordon Watson, said: "We must maintain a diverse range of courses in Scottish universities to ensure the very best choice for students. If we start taking an axe to degrees then Scottish students will be forced to pay the higher fees in England or give up their dreams."

  • Playwright Sir Tom Stoppard will present Petition No. 1395 (for targeted funding for lesser taught languages and cultures) to the Scottish Parliament at 2 pm
  • Organisers of the petition and UCU members will gather outside the Scottish Parliament from 1pm
  • Sir Tom will be available to talk to the media on from 1pm.