‘We cannot continue to deny 80% of our children the ability to speak Welsh’ – Cymdeithas
We need to ensure that we stop denying 80% of Welsh children the ability to speak Welsh, language group Cymdeithas yr Iaith has said.
As the Welsh Government prepares its proposals for a Welsh Language Education Bill, Cymdeithas yr Iaith held a symposium in Cardiff Bay today, 27 October, to discuss its own draft Welsh Language Education Act.
Catrin Dafydd on behalf of Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s Education Group said: “Today we heard an international perspective from Paul Bilbao Sarria from the Basque Country who said that the only solution to ensure confident Welsh speakers is Welsh-medium education.
“All schools in Wales can be placed on a path to reach this goal over time. The Welsh Language Education Bill that the Government is preparing has the opportunity to ensure that we stop denying 80% of Welsh children the ability to speak Welsh. The Welsh language is an essential skill and no-one should be left behind.
“The child and its future should be the main consideration for any educational decisions. The Welsh Government insists that there needs to be a choice between Welsh-medium education and English-medium education, but 80% of children have never really had a choice. For us, giving everyone the ability to speak Welsh is a matter of social justice.”
‘Right to Welsh’
Keith Bush, Fellow of Welsh Law who drafted the Welsh Language Education Act for Cymdeithas yr Iaith, said at the Symposium: “It appears to me that we’ve reached a place where it is no longer sustainable to treat Welsh as a ‘minority’ language. It has now developed the status of a national language – one of two languages that every child in Wales needs to be able to use effectively.
“Cymdeithas yr iaith has challenged anyone with a different vision to explain how they justify denying the majority of children in Wales, for an indefinite time, their right to the ability to have their education in Welsh.”
The symposium’s chair, Professor Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, said: “We need to set an ambition in the education system today so that we can plan to reach our ambitions as a country by 2050. Research – including at an international level – is vital in order to achieve this.”
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