NTEU members win reprieve for Japanese program
Today brought the great news that the UC Japanese programme, which had been slated for closure, has been given a three-year reprieve in which to build student numbers. If this is achieved the course will continue indefinitely. Given the increased numbers of secondary Japanese students in Canberra, and the energy and commitment of the staff of the discipline, this seems highly likely.
It is a great outcome, particularly given the original, shocking announcement - immediately before Christmas last year - that the programme would close forthwith.
The NTEU stepped in then to tell University management that it could do no such thing, as it must carry out a proper change management process before deciding on the course's future.
Many congratulations are due to the staff in Japanese, Yuko Kinoshita and NTEU delegate Nicki Bramley, who used the time and proper process achieved by this NTEU action to mount a highly effective campaign on behalf of their discipline.
In addition to working with students, graduates and the Japanese community in Canberra to lobby UC management, they prepared a detailed, thoroughly researched, cogently argued submission to the committee convened by UC management to review the matter.
Yuko Kinoshita commented today: 'The review report recognised the importance of Asian language learning and the quality of teaching in our program, referring to our "near the top of Faculty of Arts and Design" USS results. They also recognised as many as seventeen of our proposed future actions as good ideas and recommended to implement them. We still disagree with many facts and analyses in the report, including the assertion that we have been cross-subsidised. However, we trust the Dean's commitment in assisting our growth and also in the transparency of the process and information. We are prepared to start working for the future of the Japanese programme.'
I congratulate UC management for engaging in a genuine process of review of the programme and of the plans for dropping it, for recognising the importance of the Japanese programme to students and the community, and for having the wisdom to admit their original decision was incorrect and to change it.
The reprieve for Japanese is a great example of what union members can achieve when they work together to stand up for their disciplines against decisions driven by agendas such as economic rationalism. Congratulations again!