Fury At Cardiff - Education Minister Rules Welsh as Second Class Language of Instruction - Welsh Language Society Condemns

The notion of Welsh medium education enjoys wide support amongst the electorate in Wales. A poll released in late 2014 sponsored by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) showed 63% of the people surveyed agreed that schools “should teach all pupils to communicate effectively in Welsh” thus ensuring graduates enjoy a command of the Welsh tongue upon graduation.  Studies have shown that bilingually schooled students academically outperform monolingually schooled students.

Now comes word that the Welsh Government is again refusing to introduce universal Welsh Medium education and that the Celtic tongue will remain as a second class language of instruction in state funded schools.

News From The Welsh Languague Society

Language campaigners have occupied Qualifications Wales' office following the body's decision to continue teaching 'Second Language Welsh' to children instead of creating one Welsh qualification for all pupils; and have called on Kirsty Williams to overturn the decison.

Three years ago, the Government received a report from Professor Sioned Davies with an urgent call for radical changes, including putting an end to the concept of teaching Welsh as a second language and instead creating a continuum, increasing learning in Welsh in every school. Last year, the First Minister Carwyn Jones said he "thought the concept" of second language Welsh "creates an artificial distinction, and we do not believe that this provides a useful basis for policy-making for the future."

However, in a letter published on the website of qualifications Wales last week, Philip Blaker, CEO of Qualifications Wales, said to the Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams, that the organisation wanted to keep the second language Welsh qualification.

Toni Schiavone, Chair of Cymdeithas' Education Group, said:

"This decision is going to deprive another generation of children of the language. It's unbelievable that they can ignore the strong feelings of hundreds of people who responded to a consultation. It is totally unacceptable and shows civil servants' and officials' lack of will, and lack of vision to make the radical changes needed. Once again, they are letting children down by maintaining a system that has already been proven a failure.

"You can not put an end to Second Language Welsh on the one hand and reform the Second Language Welsh qualification 'Welsh Second Language' on the other. Either you bring it to an end, or you don't - it's as simple as that. They know that well enough, but instead of taking action, they are unnecessarily holding back again.

"We are very concerned that in the end we will see that the concept of second language Welsh will continue. That's a life sentence for the 80% of our young people who will not have Welsh skills for their whole life. We will insist on a response from Kirsty Williams in our meeting with her next week, and will be calling on her to overturn this decision for the sake of the next generation. "



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