Greek studies at Latrobe University is popular but students prefer to undertake studies in English rather than in Greek, Maria Herodotou, lecturer and program coordinator for the Greek Studies program within Latrobe University’s school of historical and European studies, says.

VCE Greek is declining so the numbers there are declining; we had more than 1000 students a few years ago now we hardly have 250.

“We are increasing our numbers in European studies, that is subjects offered in English, but there is a decline in numbers of students taking Greek language,” she said.

Melbourne’s Latrobe University offers Modern Greek, Ancient Greek and European studies, with Modern Greek offering a three year language course from beginners to advance.

Ms Herodotou said the program is the oldest remaining program at Latrobe, spanning more than 30 years.

Numbers of students enrolled in Modern Greek are lower this year than in previous years, Ms Herodotou said.

“VCE Greek is declining so the numbers there are declining; we had more than 1000 students a few years ago now we hardly have 250” she told Neos Kosmos.

Ms Herodotou said 90 percent of students who study as part of the program are of Greek background.

“Some are from non-Greek backgrounds and they do the beginners course but they have some connection to Greek, like being from a mixed marriage,” she said.

The other reason for the decline is a shortage of Greek students undertaking arts degrees, Ms Herodotou said.

“They prefer business, economics, science, health sciences, psychology, even if they come to bachelor of Arts they transfer at later years; this is a tradition in the Greek community, they want something career oriented,” she said.

“They prefer to do something in English on Greek culture or history, it’s easier for them to do it in English rather than take the language for three years,” she said.

Monash University reintroduced Modern Greek this year, and classical studies program director, Dr Evangelia Anagnostou-Laoutides, said enrolments have been promising.

“We started with 28 students in the first semester, and we currently have 22 for the second semester,” she said, adding that a recent Open Day saw widespread interest from potential students.

“We recently held our Open Day during which we had numerous enquiries about Modern Greek, while I have been responding to prospective student queries throughout the year,” she said.

Opposed to Latrobe’s enrolments, of students enrolled in Modern Greek at Monash university only half are of Greek background, Dr Anagnostou-Laoutides said.

“Our Greek background students represent the 50 percent of our enrolments; for us it is crucial to be able to attract students of ALL backgrounds to our courses,” she said.

Dr Anagnostou-Laoutides said the program has recently received a donation from the Greek-Australian Cultural League and have been able to advertise the first scholarships for students of Modern Greek.

“Our progress is steady and both myself and Mr Alexandros Giannadakis, the Greek government appointee, are putting in this all the necessary effort to foster the program on a sound basis,” she said.