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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 2. 1969.

Faculties, student meeting on language requirements

page 3

Faculties, student meeting on language requirements


An Informal meeting of Executives of the Faculties of Arts and five student representatives was held recently to discuss the language requirement for the B.A. degree.

The meeting included Professor Muir, Dean of the Faculty of Arts; Professor Norrish, Dean of the Faculty of Language and Literature; and other staff members.

The student representatives included Simon Arnold (for Education Officer Andy Chapman), David Harcourt, Caroline McGrath and Barry Saunders.

Salient was not invited

The discussions were informal but notes were taken as a record for information of Headsof Departments.

It is not proposed to give a full report of the proceedings as a further meeting will be held on the 20th March which will be fully covered by Salient.

The major question raised was that of compusion.

Some felt that although the learning of a language was broadening a students understanding, the same could be said of other subjects which were not compulsory.


Some staff members were of the opinion that being limited to one's own language restricts the individual's ability to know the wide variety of thought and expression as found in other cultures beside his own.

Suggested alternatives to language requirements were mathematics, statistics, philosophy, or subjects such as sociology, geography or science.

It was suggested heads of departments might decide on the best compulsory alternatives to go with the main subjects taken in their department.

Preparation in the secondary schools for university standard language units was discussed.

Although universities could not demand what was to be taught at secondary schools, the latter were influenced by what universities demanded.

The situation at Otago and Auckland is that where all those who have gained a certain mark, in a foreign lanuage in the entrance scholarship examination or in the universities bursary examination, or have reached an approved standard in other examinations accepted for this purpose by the Senate gain exemption for the foreign language requirement.

Also in Otago "Those who obtain a pass in statistical methods or in an approved course in mathematics" are exempt.

A recommendation will be made to the Professorial Board after the next meeting which will include all the heads of Departments in the Arts Faculty.