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Clarke Calls for Universities to Protect Vital Subjects


Education Secretary Charles Clarke is calling on universities to protect subjects vital to the UK's trade and security, like science and languages.

Mr Clarke has written to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) with a list of courses asking how these could best be safeguarded.

The list includes minority languages, science, technology, engineering, maths and vocationally-oriented courses of particular interest to employers in areas of growing importance to the UK economy.

Mr Clarke said it was important to have a "long-term view" of what the country required from graduates.

"Specification of these particular subjects does not mean that they are more important than others," he said. "But, they have been pinpointed because there are particular concerns that on current trends we may not be able to produce enough graduates in these fields in the future and have them provided for in enough regions across the country."

Subjects listed for protection:
* Arabic, Turkish and Middle-East studies
* Asian and former USSR country studies
* Japanese, Chinese, Mandarin and other far-eastern languages
* Science, technology, engineering and maths
* Vocationally oriented courses, especially for technology and creative/cultural industries
* Courses relating to EU accession states, particularly eastern Europe and Baltic


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