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Campaigners launch petition calling on government to ‘ensure Welsh education for all’ not just ‘the lucky few’

25 Oct 2022 3 minute read
Students in a lesson at school. Picture by Ben Birchall / PA Wire.

A campaign group has launched a petition calling on the Welsh Government to ensure Welsh-medium education for every young person in Wales, not just “the lucky few”.

Wish I Spoke Welsh will today launch a campaign across twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube encouraging the people of Wales to sign the petition via the Senedd Petitions website.

They are running a campaign to highlight what they say is an “injustice” that most people in Wales never have the opportunity to become fluent in Welsh, despite many people feeling they wish they could speak the language.

They are currently calling on the Welsh Government to ensure that a Welsh-medium education for every child in Wales over time is included in a proposed new Welsh Language Education Bill.

Luke Johns, the main petitioner who is one of the organizers of Wish I Spoke Welsh, said that “as someone who went to an English-medium school, I have always wished I could speak Welsh”.

“I believe the Welsh language is for everyone, and that every child should be given the opportunity to learn our language, which is why I am proud to be part of launching this petition as part of Wish I Spoke Welsh, to make sure no child is left behind in the same way I was,” he said.

“Our language should be for everyone, not just a lucky few.”

‘Social justice’

One of the co-organisers of Wish I Spoke Welsh, Carl Morris, said that the current system was “failing” Wales’ school children.

“Every child who lives in Wales – in whatever area of the country and whatever background they have – deserves to be fluent in Welsh,” he said.

“But year after year, for a majority of our children leaving school this isn’t the case.

“The system is failing them, specifically its Welsh Second Language subject which is completely inadequate. Everyone who has any involvement in our education system needs to play their part in making Welsh-medium schooling a reality for all.”

Osian Rhys who is also a Wish I Spoke Welsh co-organiser, said that as things stood 80% of children were “deprived” of the skill of being able to speak Welsh.

“The Welsh Government’s proposed Welsh Language Education Bill can remedy this by setting a statutory goal that every pupil in Wales will receive a Welsh-medium education by 2050, taking all schools on a journey towards that over time,” he said.

“Ensuring that every child gets the same opportunity is a matter of social justice.”

The petition can be signed here.

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