Ble mae’r Gymraeg? – Where’s the Welsh? From Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the Welsh Language Society
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the progressive language rights’ organisation in Wales, has proposed a radical shift in the teaching of the language in Welsh schools. From Wales Online:
“A row has blown up over a plan by language activists that would see all pupils in Wales having at least a third of the school curriculum taught in Welsh.
In its submission to a Welsh Government review of second language Welsh education, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg say: “Depriving anyone of the essential skill of the ability to communicate and discuss their work in Welsh is an educational failure.
“The Government should announce the intention of abolishing ‘second language Welsh’ immediately and ensure instead … an immediate move to a system where every pupil receives a proportion of their education through the medium of Welsh, as well as studying the language as a subject, so they are able to work through the medium of the language.”
Robin Farrar, chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, added: “It’s unfair that only a minority of young people have the opportunity of having Welsh medium education at the moment, depending on parental choice and a postcode lottery.
“We should aim for every pupil to be fluent and able to use the language in day-to-day life, so the term ‘second language’ is no longer appropriate…”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The review group is considering the curriculum and assessment methods, as well as training for Welsh second language practitioners. The group will report back with recommendations in the autumn.”
A spokeswoman for Welsh Language Commissioner Meri Huws said: “The Commissioner is pleased that the Welsh Government is looking in detail at how the Welsh language is introduced as a second language in schools. The Commission will respond fully to the Government’s report on its findings when it is published later this year.””
In fact a very similar recommendation was made by an international panel of linguists and education experts to the Irish government, arguing that the effective teaching of Irish in schools must be accompanied by a broader range of subjects taught partially or wholly through the Irish language. That advice was effectively ignored by the Fine Oibre coalition despite the Irish government seeking it in the first place. Instead Fine Gael and Labour have ramped up their discriminatory policies towards Irish-speaking children and communities and treat the indigenous language of the island of Ireland as an inconvenience to the national education system (and the so-called Irish state itself).
Meanwhile in Québec, as reported by CTV News, a small group of anglophone extremists have taken to the streets to protest the Francophone nation’s language equality laws:
“A couple of hundred demonstrators assembled outside of Premier Pauline Marois’ downtown office Sunday afternoon to rally around speakers such as Howard Galganov and former Equality Party leader Keith Henderson.
Galganov, a hardliner activist who led an English-rights movement in Montreal in the 90s before moving to eastern Ontario, was clad in a leather Freedom Riders biker jacket and riled up the crowd with such phrases as “Canada needs Quebec like it needs a hole in the head.”
Galganov, who once fought for Canadian unity, made no apologies for his anti-Quebec comments.
“We’re at that point in our history where Canada would do far better without Quebec and maybe Quebec would be better without Canada,” he said.
Some in the audience said they were uncomfortable with the divisive comments and didn’t agree with the entire contents of the colourful rant.
The language rights rally was hosted by Jimmy Kay, a local salesman who made a documentary called Angryphone.
The rally not only targeted Bill 14, but also other language-related issues that have intensified since the Parti Quebecois came into power.”