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Jersey government to use Wales as model for national identity push

12 May 2021 2 minutes Read
Mont Orgueil castle in Jersey. Picture by Man vyi.

The island of Jersey is using Wales as a model in an attempt to “recapture” its own national identity.

A report by the government of the self-governing British Crown Dependency near the coast of north-west France says that they are seen as a “small, expensive tax haven” and need to rediscover and re-emphasise what makes them unique.

Identifying Wales a country with its own “national identity project”, it points to the Curriculum Cymreig as a way in which a sense belonging could be developed in the island’s school children.

“Wales is a notable example of a country that has strengthened its national identity in recent times,” the government’s Island Identity report says.

“This has partly been achieved through the Curriculum Cymreig programme. This curriculum is not a totally new teaching curriculum. It is an
education document for teachers, giving practical ways to introduce Welsh identity into the existing curriculum.

“This programme offers schools and teachers innovative and simple ways to include aspects of national identity and citizenship in the teaching of all subjects (not just PSHE or geography etc.).”

It is one of nearly 50 suggestions to boost a sense of island identity, which the government hopes will boost the island’s reputation around the world.

‘Distinctive’

The report adds that Jersey’s Britishness should not be a barrier to developing an identity of their own.

“Other British nations, such as Scotland and Wales, are bursting with pride in their national identities,” the

“Visitors to these places are confronted at every turn with unique and proud expressions of identity. Politically, these nations are constantly stretching the limits of their devolved powers to innovate new and better ways to structure their economies and communities.

“And yet Jersey enjoys much greater constitutional and political freedoms than they do. Recapturing a sense of our distinctive status, identity and history will make us better equipped to take full advantage of these invaluable freedoms.”

The report says Jersey is seen by some as a “one trick pony” internationally – purely as a finance centre. It adds that that leads to reputational challenges.

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