SIR. -- I disagree with your correspondent Mr. J. B. Jones who was of the opinion that Russian "is not a school subject." He mentioned the teaching of the language here at Imperial College: it might interest him to know that I am the only undergraduate student currently attending the Advanced Russian Course -- and I have reached that stage purely by virtue of having passed Russian G.C.E at Brent-wood School. There just is not time for a student doing an intensified university scientific course to reach any appreciable stage in a foreign language as difficult as Russian.
I maintain from my own experience that the only effective way of teaching Russian is not as a sideline, a novelty, but as an alternative to a main language like French or German, at school.
It may well be that there are forty or fifty students who turn up for the first few Russian lessons here, but without the compulsion characteristic of school education very, very few survive even to the end of the first term.
David J. Irving,