Cutting Back on Kazakh
— Libby A. Nelson
September 2, 2011
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, a university that wanted to offer courses in Pashto or Farsi seemed to have a smooth road ahead. The Education Department increased spending on foreign language programs, especially those teaching rare languages, and student interest was on the rise.
But a decade later, programs in those languages, as well as many others that are infrequently taught but considered strategically important, face elimination on campuses after deep federal budget cuts.
National Resource Centers, so designated by the Education Department to teach foreign languages and culture at universities around the country, lost 47 percent of their budget for fiscal year 2011 in the last-minute deal to avert a government shutdown in April. Since relatively few students opt for Bengali or Burmese over Spanish or French, federal funding was often the factor that made such courses financially feasible. The cut was across-the-board, so every center is facing the loss of half its federal funds.
The Coalition for International Education is conducting a survey of Title VI programs, including the 125 National Resource Centers; 15 Language Resource Centers, which focus on language pedagogy and teacher training; and 33 Centers for International Business Education and Research.
The Language Resource Centers estimate that the number of teachers they train this year will drop 35 percent, from just over 17,000 to 11,130.
Read the full article at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/09/02/foreign_language_programs_face_deep_cuts