Now state the case for Gaelic

8th September 2000 at 01:00
SO THE Scottish Parent Teacher Council does not want the further extension of state Gaelic-medium education to be based on the "utterly false and romantic view of the place of Gaelic in Scotland's past" (TESS, August 25) when, as promised by the Scottish Executive, it is to become a "national priority" - presumably on the basis of the 1999 Johnstone report, which showed the educational advantages of Gaelic-medium education for all pupils, including facility in English.

Obviously tuition in Scottish history has at least in the past been entirely deficient if SPTC clings to the utterly false view that the Scottish nation was not once in the main Gaelic-speaking. There were, of course, four geographical areas where Gaelic has never traditionally been spoken as a community language - Shetland, Orkney, four parishes of north-east Caithness and the Merse - though the Northern Isles were, as SPTC should know, late addition to the Scottish state. But what the relevance of the past distribution of Gaelic communities has to do with the issue of modern education, we leave to the (un)historically-minded SPTC.

Obviously tuition in Scottish geography has been entirely deficient if SPTC clings to the romantic view that there are areas of the country where Gaelic education is "necessary", if they also believe that in these areas English is not also spoken. It is sad that in the run-up to the Government-supported European Year of Language, which is to include Scots Gaelic, the SPTC can produce a document which by implication determines access to bilingualism and language learning by geographical area, discriminating against those outwith recently Gaelic or Scots - or French or Urdu or Italian or Cantonese or other communities.

Le durachd

Peadar Morgan


Comann an Luchd Ionnsachaidh, Invergordon

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