Essential funds for Gaelic issues;Letter

26th January 1996 at 00:00
I read Farquhar Macintosh's article (TESS, November 24) with considerable interest and enthusiasm. It gives an accurate and concise picture of the "Gaelic situation" as I see it today both educationally and politically.

The historical insight reinforces the resilience of the Gaels when faced by adversity. This resilience is a quality still indispensible to the parents now from multicultural backgrounds, who strive to make Gaelic-medium education available to children throughout Scotland.

As we have two sons, positively thriving, on this provision, there are several issues proposed which I would support and comment further on. At college of education level I would see it as a natural progression that "specific grant" funding should be made available for the training of Gaelic-medium teachers.

It would also be highly desirable, if not essential, that interviewing panels should include a Gaelic speaker.

One aspect of positive discrimination in favour of Gaelic speaking applicants does, however cause me concern. I do not think that fluency in Gaelic should be regarded asof greater importance than an applicant having the basic qualities which are necessary to be a competent general primary teacher.

Should such a policy of positive discrimination be adopted I would like to see the following points considered in elation to actual language teaching: adequate funding being made available to the colleges for their courses to be expanded to include language immersion sessions for students as required.

Consideration to be given as to how language appropriate to different situations should be introduced and reinforced particularly in schools which are no longer part of a wider Gaelic community. This would encompass language appropriate to school, domestic and social occasions.

In summary, do we wish to have our children educated through the medium of Gaelic but unable to relate to, or converse effectively with the wider Gaelic community outwith the classroom walls?

There are many other aspects of Gaelic-medium education, particularly evaluation and research, now that we are 10 years into the system, which concern parents and teachers alike, and I commend The TES Scotland for giving us a platform on which to air our views.


62 Weavers Knowe Crescent



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