Teaching Russian

Is Scotland to be the only major country not participating in the restoration of Russian teaching to its rightful place in the school curriculum? We are presiding over its virtual disappearance from timetables and the dismantling of innovative Russian departments at Heriot-Watt and Strathclyde universities.

The economic and cultural reasons for learning Russian were laid out by members of the Scotland-Russia Forum (Letters, 17 May). To this might be added the fact that Russia has passed Saudi Arabia, and is now the world’s largest oil producer.

Perhaps, we could take a leaf out of Ireland’s book. It has introduced Russian into the leaving certificate; 58 pupils took the examination in 2003, and this has risen to 90 in 2004.

The government allocates 650 to each school that introduces Russian teaching. Can the Scottish Executive match any of this? Let us hope it can.

(EMER PROF) TLB WADE

Research Fellow in Russian Studies

University of Strathclyde

Cleveden Crescent

Glasgow