Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Calls for new language GCSE to be introduced in Wales

17 Feb 2024 3 minute read
Ali Abdi

Members of the Wales Somaliland Community are urging the Welsh Government to include a GCSE in Somali language in the new Welsh curriculum.

After attending a Somali Cultural Event this week at the Grange Pavilion in Cardiff held by community organisation Taageero Cymru, Ali Abdi, a prominent community activist in Wales and Chair of the Grange Pavilion emphasised the importance of recognising and celebrating the cultural heritage of the Somaliland community.

It’s almost 20 years since the last campaign for the introduction of the Somali GCSE led by the then former head of EMAS, the Ethnic Minority Achievement Service at Fitzalan’s High School, Mrs. Asha Ali. A school which has always had a significant number of Somali pupils attending since the community has had a presence in Cardiff along with Cathays High School, which Ali Abdi attended.

The event, attended by influential community leaders Eid Ali Ahmed and Abdikarim Adan, who have been championing the Wales Somaliland community over the last 40 years, underscored the significance of supporting initiatives like the introduction of a Somali GCSE. Their presence at the event further highlights the widespread support within the Wales Somaliland community for greater recognition and inclusion in the education system.

Mr Abdi announced his intention to write to the Welsh Government’s Education Minister, Jeremy Miles, a contender for the First Minister of Wales, to share the community’s desire for the introduction of a Somali GCSE. Additionally, he plans to engage with Professor Charlotte Williams OBE, chair of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions, and Cynefin in the New Curriculum, to advocate for the inclusion of Somali language and culture in the curriculum.

Layla and Amina speaking at Taageero Cymru

Mr Abdi said: “The Somali community in Wales, also known as the Wales Somaliland community, has a rich and diverse history. Over the past several decades, Somali immigrants have made significant contributions to Welsh society, enriching the cultural fabric of the nation. From business and entrepreneurship to education and community development, the Wales Somaliland community has played a vital role in shaping the social and economic landscape of Wales.”

Taageero Cymru, a community-led organisation dedicated to supporting Somali children and families in Wales, hosts a supplementary school for Somali pupils from the Grange Pavilion every Tuesday after school. Co-founders Layla Saeed and Amina Ahmed emphasised the demand for a Somali GCSE. “With over 40 students in attendance at our supplementary school, there is clear demand for a Somali GCSE among the Wales Somaliland community in Wales,” they said.

“With a large number of Somali pupils studying in Welsh secondary schools, it is imperative that they have the opportunity to learn in their mother tongue and be recognised for their linguistic and cultural heritage,” added Mr Abdi.

He believes that offering a GCSE in Somali language would not only provide Somali students with a greater sense of cultural identity and belonging but also improve their academic achievement.

According to Mr Abdi, introducing a Somali GCSE aligns with the Welsh Government’s commitment to diversity, equity, and social justice. “By creating a more inclusive and culturally responsive education system, we can strengthen our communities and empower all students to succeed,” he said.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
9 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago

I have no doubt that the Somali community here has added to our culture, and I hope they continue to do so, but if we were to offer a GCSE in Somali then we must offer all the other minority groups here the same choice. Mandarin or Cantonese for that group, Hindi Punjabi, Urdu, Kashmiri for those groups, Polish who have a large presence here, it’s just not possible, we dont have the resources, and to offer one without the others would be wrong. Why not set up a course at local community level, and ask the government to acknowledge… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

The Somali community has been in Cardiff in some numbers for over a century. Given that the nation resides in few areas with good concentrations perhaps a pilot could be set up to meet interest and needs in those areas. Same goes for other minority languages. Take bright people with bilingual ability, train them in teaching techniques and give them space. If they attract numbers then it will be beneficial because it’s generally accepted that fluency in 2 or more languages improves general abilities.

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

I agree, if there is enough interest run a course, or courses as required, as I suggested, create something locally, with eg a NVQ at the end, and offer this nationwide for all groups at a local level.

Paddy
Paddy
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

GCSEs and A levels are already offered for community languages such as Gujarati, Panjabi, Polish and Urdu. Also Chinese (Mandarin).

Gareth
Gareth
2 months ago
Reply to  Paddy

I was unaware of this Paddy, if this is the case then Somali should join them.

Paddy
Paddy
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

I didn’t know either. That bit of context makes a big difference.

Lewis
Lewis
2 months ago
Reply to  Paddy

Yes, however these are English qualifications and follow the English GCSE. The only languages which follow the Welsh GCSE (and grading) are French, Spanish and German.

Norman fraser
Norman fraser
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

I agree I live in leicester and like most uk cities -they are multilingual.We sadly cannot meet the demands of one community – unless that community funds everything 100% and that won’t happen

Petoc
Petoc
1 month ago

Yes its a great idea. Somali GCSE. Plus Arabic GCSE for the large Yemeni community, and the whole Arabic community.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.