Astonishing Surge In Welsh Medium Education - Spike in Demand for Welsh in the Workplace

There is a revolution underway in classrooms across all three devolved nations; most advanced in Wales, but gaining momentum in Northern Ireland and Scotland too. -   ITV News

The remarkable resurgence of the Celtic Tongue of Wales is highlighted in an article on the website of ITV news. Characterizing the surging numbers being educated in Welsh Medium schools as a revolution: “The shift is striking. When my generation (the 80s/90s kids) went to school, only about 10% of children in Wales went to Welsh language schools (officially referred to as Welsh medium schools). But in 30 years that number has more than doubled to over 20%. And in the next 30 years, the Welsh Government has plans to double it again, to 40%, as part of its vision to achieve a million Welsh speakers by 2050.”

The reporting also addresses the dramatic increase In Gaelic Medium education in Scotland and Northern Ireland: “Meanwhile, pupils at Irish and Scottish Gaelic schools are also both up by an astonishing 33% in five years.”

Significantly there is growing evidence of the economic demand for Celtic speakers playing a role in the increasing demand for Celtic medium education: “ …academics argue that economic opportunities play a large part in the growing demand for Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic education. Studies point to the growing number of jobs specifying Welsh as a job requirement. Research partly credits the rise of nationalism in all three nations, which carved out a secure space for the languages in public life and created exciting opportunities in government and media.

There are several factors that contribute to the revitalization of an endangered language.  The noted author and linguist, David Crystal, Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales-Bangor, has laid out the factors which help a language to regain its strength. These factors include an increase in the prestige of the Celtic tongue within the dominant (English speaking) community, increase the wealth of the Gaelic language community and maintaining a strong presence in the educational system.

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