UNSW and the University of Sydney are collaborating to offer cross-institutional enrolments in Indonesian, Modern Greek and Italian.

The University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales (UNSW) are joining forces to foster the study of modern languages by offering cross-institutional enrolments.

UNSW undergraduate students studying minors in Indonesian, Modern Greek or Italian as part of their UNSW Bachelor of Arts degree will have the option to complete the majority of their language courses at the University of Sydney. Under the three-year agreement, Indonesian will be offered from 2014 and the remaining subjects from 2015.

Both universities view the partnership as a “joint responsibility to students” because of the reality of limited resources and falling demand in some UNSW language programs.

The UNSW Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Dean, Professor James Donald, said cross-institutional enrolment is a well-established model of collaboration in Australia and in leading universities around the world.

“Many universities are grappling with falling enrolments in certain languages and are entering into similar agreements to make sure programs survive – it is both economically responsible and in the best interests of our students.

“Language studies are an important part of our national future that is currently under threat. UNSW has gone to great lengths to ensure students can continue to study Indonesian, Modern Greek and Italian,” Professor Donald said.

“Despite very small numbers, our School of Education continues to offer Indonesian methods training for prospective teachers. We have to rebuild the number of young people studying languages – especially Asian languages – in schools.”

Professor Duncan Ivison, Dean of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney, said the two universities were “deeply committed to working together to mutually support the provision of university language teaching in the state”.

The University of Sydney currently provides one of the largest language programs in Australia.

“Australia is too small for there not to be more collaboration around teaching and research in the humanities for the benefit of students,” said Professor Ivison.

At UNSW’s Sydney campus, Japanese, Chinese and Korean language studies are thriving but only 23 students are currently studying Indonesian.

“It is a matter of serious concern that more students don't choose to study Indonesian. But the numbers don't lie. It is not a matter of hiring more lecturers – declining enrolments mean we simply do not have enough students to make teaching the course on our Sydney campus viable,” Professor Donald said.

The decline in Sydney is in contrast to the strong demand (80 students currently enrolled) for the Indonesian studies program at UNSW Canberra, which serves the Australian Defence Force.

Further details on the course specifics can be found here 

Media contacts: Fran Strachan, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8732, 0429 416 070