Over 1,000 sign petition calling for Welsh-medium education for every child after disappointing census results
Over 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for Welsh-medium education for every child after disappointing census results.
Last week’s 2021 census results showed that the number of Welsh speakers had continued to slide from 582,000 (20.8%) in 2001 to 538,000 (17.8%) today.
The fall was among 3-16-year-olds, with older age groups showing an overall rise in Welsh speakers.
The new petition was set up by Luke Johns of the campaign group Wish I Spoke Welsh who are calling on Welsh Government to extend Welsh-medium provision to every child in Wales.
The petition calls for ambition and a clear timetable to ensure Welsh-medium education for all children in Wales and will play a key role if we want to see the language flourish and reach Welsh Government’s goal of a million speakers by 2050.
“We believe that Welsh belongs to all the people of Wales, and that everyone, whatever their background, has the right to the language,” Luke Johns’ petition says.
“The evidence shows that the way to ensure young people become fluent in the language is Welsh-medium education, but only around 20% of young people are given this opportunity at present.
“We believe there should be significant and sustained growth in Welsh-medium education, building up to universal Welsh-medium provision to ensure access to the language for all young people.”
Following the publication of the 2021 census results, David Thomas, Welsh Learner of the Year 2021 spoke out under the banner of the Wish I Spoke Welsh campaign calling on Welsh Government to extend Welsh-medium provision to every child in Wales.
“I grew up as part of a ‘lost generation’ in Cardiff in the 1970s. I had no opportunity to learn Welsh as a child and always regretted this. Learning Welsh as an adult has transformed my life, but it does take time and effort to learn as an adult,” he said.
“It is vitally important that we give every child in Wales the opportunity to learn through the medium of Welsh at school.”
“Mindful of the 2021 Census data published this week, the Welsh Government can and must act to extend Welsh-medium provision to every child in Wales. To do so would ensure their future inheritance and make good in some part for what was denied to so many of us in the past.”
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