Gaelic is 'watched but not learnt'

27th April 2001 at 01:00
Broadcasters have failed to turn interest in Gaelic among adults into language learning, according to Mike Russell, the shadow education minister, in an introductory paper for the latest parliamentary inquiry.

The Nationalist spokesman accuses broadcasters of missing opportunities to "follow through" Gaelic television programmes with provision for language learning.

He states: "It remains a matter of concern that individuals seeking to achieve fluency in Gaelic - individuals who could contribute much to halt the decline of the language - have considerable barriers placed in front of thm by a system that does not assist language learning."

A former full-time Gaelic television producer, Mr Russell notes the argument that some of the pound;8.5 million grant for Gaelic broadcasting could be transferred more profitably to Gaelic-medium education. Brian Wilson, the former education minister, made such claims in the West Highland Free Press, he notes.

But Mr Russell rejects that argument. "The solution is not less television, though part of the solution may be more education and more funding for education," he says.

The MSP backs a dedicated channel for Gaelic.

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