Two institutions of higher learning in the forefront of the struggle to return the Celtic language of Scotland to its rightful place are in the news for demonstrating academic excellence and for advancing Gaelic medium education.
Scotland’s Stornoway Gazette reports under the headline “HMI Report Shows High Standards at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig”, that an audit by the UK Educational Standards Board (Her Majesty’s Inspectors for Education) has resulted in a favourable assessment of the school’s academic standards. Scotland’s Gaelic Colleges is located on the Isle of Skye off Scotland’s west coast. Founded in 1973, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has become internationally recognised as a National Centre for the Gaelic language and culture. The College is an academic partner within the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), and provides high quality education and research opportunities through the medium of Scottish Gaelic.
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Sherriff Roddy John MacLeod, said: “On behalf of the Board of Directors I welcome this report and congratulate all the College staff who have by their hard work and dedication ensured it is so favourable. But the most satisfying aspect of the report is its confirmation that we are fulfilling our duties to learners and meeting the needs of the wider Gaelic community.”
Over the years SMO has been fundamental in the revitalisation and regeneration of the Gaelic language and culture. Having graduated over 800 students since its founding, the College has greatly contributed to the number of Gaelic speaking graduates in the workplace in Scotland.
In a development sure to fuel the resurgence of Gaelic language and culture in Nova Scotia, the Canadian Broadcasting Company are reporting under the headline “Cape Breton Gaelic College Looking To Expand Course Selection”, that Gaelic immersion classes will be offered with degree credit in cooperation with Cape Breton University. Rodney MacDonald, former Premier of Nova Scotia, accomplished Cape Breton Fiddler and current CEO of the Gaelic College was quoted as follows: “We want to offer a five or six-week immersion credit course on site at the college, starting in the spring of 2015. We think that we can not only do that — a Gaelic language program — but we can move well beyond that and begin to offer additional courses...right now, most people who want to advance their studies have to go to Scotland. There is no reason why we can’t offer these types of courses at home.”