Select Committee on Innovation, Universities and Skills Written Evidence

Memorandum 94

Submission from the British Association for Applied Linguistics


  1.  This is a response from the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) to the proposal to withdraw funding support from institutions for students taking second qualifications of an equivalent or lower level (ELQs) to their first qualifications. BAAL is concerned that this proposal impacts on people wishing to change careers in response to global market developments, and that in particular individuals wishing to upgrade their qualifications in applied linguistics and related subjects will be adversely affected.


  2.  Students with qualifications in applied linguistics enter a number of professional fields, including:

    —  Language teaching, especially supporting the integration of migrant communities in Britain by teaching English as a Second Language.

    —  Academic Literacies development, supporting both International Students at UK universities, who constitute a major generator of income for those institutions, and home students from backgrounds constituting the widening participation agenda.

    —  Training students entering language-oriented professions such as speech therapy and language support in schools.

    —  Engaging in research that informs public policy and practice in areas such as education, the media, and the law.

  3.  Individuals wishing to take such degrees typically do so in order to change the direction of their professional life. Most practitioners in applied linguistics experienced higher education in another field before entering this one.


  4.  It is particularly difficult to assess the impact of the proposed realignment of funding on this field, as it may appear in many guises. It is probable that many of the programmes affected under the heading "Linguistics, Classics and related subjects" as well as a large proportion of those under "Education" will have most of their funding removed. Projected losses in the first case are 3.8% and in the second 10.1% (based on HEFCE figures). This will have a severe impact on the Applied Linguistics research and practitioner community.

January 2008

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