Enrolment in ‘Languages For All’ drops by over 30% in 2017/2018

The University of York. Image: The Yorker
The University of York. Image: The Yorker

The number of students enrolled in the University of York’s ‘Languages For All’ programme dropped by almost a third in the 2017/2018 academic year.

1125 students enrolled in the University of York’s languages programme in the 2017/2018 academic year, over 500 fewer than the 1713 who enrolled in the 2016/2017 academic year.

Languages For All (LFA) is a system of classes in languages offered to students, staff and members of the public at the University of York. Those who enrol may choose from a selection of fourteen languages including Spanish, French, German, Russian and Medieval Latin.

The decline in students enrolling in Languages For All follows the abolition of free courses for undergraduates in their first year, which came into force in September 2017.

At the time of writing, the University of York charges its students £167 to enrol in an LFA course. Members of the public are charged £249, though those over the age of sixty or those who are students at other institutions can pay a discounted price of £220. York students who take an LFA to count towards their academic degree may take the course free of charge.

Last year, Nouse reported that only a third of students engaged in LFA courses during the 2016/2017 academic year attended their LFA assessments. The Yorker found that just over two fifths of the 1125 students on LFA courses attended their LFA assessments in the 2017/2018 year.

Of the 1125 students who signed up to LFA courses in the 2017/2018 academic year, 47 withdrew from their courses before their courses ended. In the previous year, 52 withdrew.

A University of York spokesperson said:

It was anticipated that the number of students enrolled on extra-curricular Languages For All courses might fall in 2017-18, as this was the first year that charges for these courses were introduced.

Due to high demand, however, additional groups were added to the initial timetable in German, Spanish and Japanese.

As the motivations for studying a language vary from student-to-student, we offer a flexible learning experience, which means that not all students enrolled in the programme have to take an end-of-year-exam.

The numbers of students taking the exam has increased, suggesting that extra-curricular Languages For All courses continue to be highly valued by students.

LFA courses begin in the first academic term of the year and run for nineteen weeks throughout the academic year. Each session lasts two hours and is led by an expert in the language.

LFA courses are taught at different levels according to the Common European Framework of Reference. A ‘Level 1’ course would be appropriate for students with no knowledge of the language in the course; ‘Level 2’ courses are best suited to students who have the equivalent to a GCSE level of understanding of the language. The highest level of language education is ‘Level 5’.

In the 2017/2018 academic year, the most popular individual LFA class was Spanish ‘Level 1’, attended by 83 students, followed by German ‘Level 1’. The most popular language overall was French, studied by 233 students, followed by Spanish, studied by 223 students. The least popular language was Portuguese, studied by 14 students.