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5th December 2014

Poor entry figures lead to pulling of Middle Eastern languages courses

Current students of Hebrew, Persian and Turkish will not be affected but no new students will be admitted to the course

The University of Manchester is to close three language courses under the umbrella of Middle Eastern Studies, after consistently poor admission figures.

Over the past three years only a total of 17 students have been admitted to the Hebrew, Persian and Turkish courses at the University of Manchester.

In the 2013/14 academic year, no students joined the Persian course at all. This data does not include those who dropped out or transferred to other courses.

The University of Manchester has made numerous attempts to improve admission figures, including making changes to the teaching portfolio, but has been thus far unsuccessful and has had to withdraw these courses.

Current students of Hebrew, Persian and Turkish will continue to be taught and their graduation will not be affected by the cancelling of the courses.

The university has been a major centre for the study of Middle Eastern affairs for more than 100 years.

The University of Manchester Library has one of the largest Middle Eastern Collections in Europe and one of Britain’s finest manuscript collections.

Manchester has been regarded as the UK’s language capital and the university has its own dedicated Multilingual Manchester project.

A spokesperson for the university said, “[Our] commitment to research and scholarly activity in Middle Eastern Studies remains strong and it is not closing the undergraduate degree programme.

“However, over a number of years, we have seen extremely low recruitment to a small number of undergraduate language programmes.

“As a result, the university has decided to withdraw a very small number of programmes associated with the Turkish, Persian and Hebrew languages.

“The university will continue to offer a range of undergraduate programmes and course units which consider the cultural, societal and historical elements of the Middle East, as well as enabling the study of the Arabic language.

“Additionally, we will continue to offer students the opportunity to study Arabic, Persian, Hebrew and Turkish languages through our University Language Centre.”

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