'Leigheas air Aon-Chananas'

19th September 2008 at 01:00

O chionn deich bliadhna nuair a chaidh mi an dreuchd aig Comhairle Choitcheann Luchd-teagaisg na h-Alba (GTC) bha a' cheist a thaobh foghlam Gaidhlig mar-tha air a' chlar-obrach. B' e aon de na chiad nithean a bha agam ri dheanamh Co-labhairt mu fhoghlam Gaidhlig eagrachadh. A-mach as a' Cho-labhairt sin thainig Aithisg GTC Alba leis an tiotal A' Teagasg ann am Foghlam tro Mheadhan na Gaidhlig, Molaidhean a thaobh Atharrachadh. Bha buaidh aig an aithisg sin, agus tha fhathast nam bheachd-sa, air doigh cruthachaidh Ro-Innleachd Foghlam Gaidhlig Naiseanta.

Mar rd-oifigear agus Neach-claraidh GTC Alba, tha mi moiteil as gur e a bhith a' gabhail ris gun robh diofar dhoighean ann air foghlam luchd- teagaisg a libhrigeadh, aon de na co-dhunaidhean as sonraichte gun tainig a' Chomhairle. Thainig an t-atharrachadh le cursa ur ga leasachadh le Colaiste a' Chaisteil agus Oilthigh Shrath Chluaidh. Bha an cursa sin, a bha ag amas air comas a thoirt dha oileanaich cumail orra a' fuireach anns na h-eileanan fhad `s a bhiodh iad a' frithealadh cursa bliadhna dha iar- cheumnaich ann am Foghlam tro Mheadhan na Gaidhlig, anabarrach cudromach. B' e clach-mhile a bh' ann nuair a fhuair an cursa barantachadh bhon Chomhairle.

Thathar an dochas gu bheil an cursa ard-sgoile ur-bharantaichte, a chaidh a dhealbh le Oilthigh Obar Dheathain agus Oilthigh na Gaidhealtachd `s nan Eilean, mar leasachadh eile as an tig barrachd luchd-teagaisg Gaidhlig san rd-sgoil.

Cuideachd, tha mi a' faighinn toileachadh mor as an t-suidheachadh gu bheil an aireamh nas motha de luchd-teagaisg Gaidhlig, a tha a' teagasg ann an sgoiltean na h-Alba, an sin mar thoradh air na molaidhean a thainig bhon Bhuidheann Gniomha airson Foghlam tro Mheadhan na Gaidhlig, air an robh mi nam chathraiche ann an 2005. Is ann ri linn na h-aithisg sin a tha Oifigear Trusaidh Luchd-teagaisg Gaidhlig againn a-nis, a tha steidhichte taobh a-staigh Bord na Gaidhlig ann an dreuchd a tha maoinichte le Riaghaltas na h-Alba.

A' beachdachadh air na tha sin, de an t- adhartas a tha sinn air a dheanamh? Is e mo bheachd fhin gu bheil an t-adhartas air a bhith tabhachdach. Tha sinn a' faicinn sgoil Ghaidhlig ainmichte ann an Glaschu air a toirt gu buil, agus a dh'aindeoin moran tuairmsean neo-dhochasach tha sinn air lorg luchd-teagaisg a tha uidheamaichte gus teagasg ann an roinn na h-ard-sgoile den sgoil sin. Tha sinn air faicinn a' chiad sgoil Ghaidhlig a chaidh a thogail a dh'aon ghnothaich ann an Inbhir Nis, a tha a-nis ann an cunnart a bhith loma-lan.

Mar sin, tha na deich bliadhna a dh'fhalbh air barrachd gluasad agus adhartas fhaicinn ann an leasachadh foghlaim Gaidhlig ann an Alba na aig am sam bith eile a chaidh seachad. Tha sinn air toiseachadh bho bhunait iosal ach tha an t-adhartas air a bhith bras, agus ann an iomadach doigh faodar coimhead air gainnead luchd-teagaisg mar dhearbhadh air suidheachadh a tha soirbheachail. Tha moran ri mholadh.

Tha e air a bhith na urram mor dhomhsa a bhith ann an suidheachadh far am faodainn buaidh a thoirt gu ire air choireigin air treanadh agus fastadh luchd-teagaisg. Tha mi a-riamh air a bhith den bheachd gum bu choir dha Gaidhlig agus gum faod a' Ghaidhlig a bhith na modal thusail dha canain coimhearsnachd eile fhad `s a bhios Alba a' fas mar dhuthaich ioma- chultarach agus ioma-chananach. Chan e sin a-mhain, ach tha e cudromach teachdaireachd shoilleir a libhrigeadh thugainne uile a tha a' fuireach ann an Alba, ann an duthaich a tha miannach air adhartas, gu bheil "Leigheas air Aon-Chananas".

Mata Macomhair, Ceannard Comhairle Choitcheann Luchd - Teagaisg na h-Alba.

English version

Monolingualism is curable

In the first of an occasional series ofGaelic articlesthat will appear in The TESS thissession, Matthew MacIver, outgoing chief executiveregistrar of the General Teaching Council for Scotland, looks back on Gaelic education over the past10years. This is a translation on the articlethat appears in this week's paper.

Ten years ago when I was appointed to the GTC Scotland, the issue of Gaelic education was already on the agenda. One of my first tasks was to organise a conference on Gaelic education. From that conference emerged the GTC Scotland report entitled Teaching in Gaelic-Medium Education, Recommendations for Change. That report was and remains, I think, influential in mapping out a strategy for Gaelic education.

As thechiefexecutiveregistrar of the GTC Scotland, I take great pride in the fact that one of the most significant decisions the council made was to acknowledge that there were different ways of delivering teacher education. I was quite clear in my own mind that initial teacher education in Scotland was very much a "Central Belt" activity and that it needed to be changed. I was well aware that many people throughout Scotland wanted to become teachers but simply could not afford to leave their homes or jobs to complete a year's PGDE course.

The breakthrough came when the thenminister for Gaelic, Alasdair Morrison, simply announced that there would be a new course developed by Lews Castle College and the University of Strathclyde. That course, aimed at enabling students to continue living in the islands while continuing a year's postgraduate course in Gaelic-medium education, was highly significant. Its accreditation by Council was a milestone.

Following that decision, it was almost inevitable that the two-year, part-time distance PGDE from Aberdeen University would happen. The newly-accredited secondary course, created by the University of Aberdeen and the University of the Highlands and Islands, is hopefully yet another development which will produce more Gaelic secondary teachers.

I also take satisfaction from the fact that the increased number of Gaelic teachers in Scotland's classrooms has been partly as a result of the recommendations of the Action Group on Gaelic Medium Education which I chaired in 2005. All of its recommendations were accepted by the then minister, Peter Peacock. It is because of that report that we now have a Gaelic teacher recruitment officer based within Brd na Gidhlig and that the post is financed by Scottish Government.

Given all of that, how much progress have we made? My own view is that progress has been substantial. We have seen the development of a Gaelic school in Glasgow and, despite many gloomy forecasts, we are finding teachers able to teach in the secondary sector of that school. We have seen the first purpose-built Gaelic school in Inverness, which is now in danger of being over-subscribed. Its success has led to Highland Regional Council announcing that it will open a further two Gaelic schools.

These are the issues which will attract the headlines but behind them are other other moves which auger well for the future. The Gaelic Languages in the Primary School (GLPS) development is now almost inevitably going to lead to more teachers being registered with the GTC Scotland who can teach Gaelic to primary and lower-secondary pupils.

The past decade, therefore, has probably seen more movement and progress in the development of Gaelic education in Scotland than any other period in the past. We have started from a low base, but progress has been rapid and in many ways the shortage of teachers can be seen as a reflection of a success story. There is much to applaud.

Of course we have a way to go, but we must take comfort from the fact that the Act which set up Brd na Gidhlig includes a responsibility on the board to advise ministers on Gaelic education. I am pleased that the board has set up a National Education Strategic Group to develop thinking on Gaelic education and, judging from its early work, it seems that the next 10 years could be even more exciting.

For me, it has been a great privilege to be in a position where I could influence to some extent the training and recruitment of more Gaelic teachers. I have always believed that Gaelic should and could be the prototype for other community languages as Scotland develops into a country of many cultures and languages. Not only that, but it is important to send out a clear message to all of us who live in an ambitious Scotland that "Monolingualism is Curable".

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