The budget supermarket chain announced plans to fund one graduate who enrolls on a masters degree in Modern German and sponsor competitions with cash prizes of up to £500 for undergraduates from next year. The Telegraph reports.
Professor Ian Watson, chair of the faculty of medieval and modern languages, said: “We are delighted that, at a time when the teaching of modern languages in the UK is facing considerable challenges, a major German company in the shape of Lidl has stepped forward to offer its support.
“The package of support that Lidl is so generously donating will allow us to raise the profile of the subject of German at Oxford at all stages of the undergraduate degree as well as for postgraduate study.”
This year, just over 3,000 students sat German A-level exams, which is nearly half as many as in 2010. While a quarter of state schools that offered German as a subject after GCSE in the last three years no longer do so.
The British Council’s school’s adviser Vicky Gough said “The perception of German is that it is harder, that it is less useful and it is something for the elite. In many schools it’s only an option for the top set.
“Spanish is seen as far more cool, it’s known as the ‘Despacito effect’ all the celebrities are using it.
“I have asked students what languages they want to study, many of them say Spanish because there are so many places where you can use it or Chinese because they think it’s exotic. But the only thing they know about Germany is the war.”
Lidl’s UK CEO Christian Härtnagel said: “As a British supermarket with roots in Germany, we saw this opportunity as a great fit and are incredibly proud to be working with Oxford to support both undergrad and graduate students of German.”
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