The Place of Gaelic in Modern Scotland

Mr John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

Mr John Swinney, Scottish Government, CC BY-NC 2.0

Last week in Stornoway, as part of the Royal National Mòd, Mr John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, presented the Angus Macleod Lecture on The Place of Gaelic in Modern Scotland.  Mr Swinney assumed ministerial responsibility for the Gaelic language after the last election.

In a thought provoking speech Mr Swinney reiterated the Scottish Government’s commitment to securing the future of the Gaelic language in Scotland and outlined plans for education, broadcasting, digital and economic development to support the language.

The First Minister clearly stated that hostility towards Gaelic has no place in Scotland, adding that the reason for the Government’s commitment to the language is quite simple. “Gaelic belongs in Scotland.”

Although Mr Swinney did not speak specifically about open education, he did refer to the importance of Gaelic education provision:

“Earlier this year, the Scottish Parliament passed an Education Act which included important Gaelic provisions. We will use this to strengthen Gaelic provision in schools.

This Act placed a duty on Bòrd na Gàidhlig to prepare Guidance on Gaelic education. This Guidance, for the first time, describes what parents can expect local authorities to deliver when they choose Gaelic education for their children. The consultation on this Guidance closes at the end of this month.

In recent years, we have seen a welcome increase in the number of parents choosing to place their children in to Gaelic education. Since 2008, we have witnessed a 32% increase of young people in Gaelic medium education and it is our duty in the Scottish Government, working with local authorities, to ensure this demand can be met.

Today I would like to announce £700k of funding for Glasgow City Council for its two Gaelic schools at Glendale and Berkeley Street. This funding will further improve the learning environment for young people studying core subjects such as physical education, STEM and ICT, ensuring Gaelic learning provides a wide experience across the curriculum.”

In response to a question from Open Scotland regarding the importance of ICT to support Gaelic education, the Deputy First Minister reiterated the Government’s commitment to providing 100% network connectivity throughout Scotland. He went on to highlight the importance of education technology to broaden the coverage of education provision, ensuring that Gaelic education can reach greater numbers of learners than ever before.  In addition he also emphasised the new opportunities that information and communication technology affords young people in the Highlands and Islands, enabling them to expand their education and skills, and seek new careers without having to leave the Gàidhealtachd.

A Storify of live tweets from the Deputy First Minister’s lecture is available here: The Place of Gaelic in Modern Scotland

Links

Scottish Government press release
Full text of the Deputy First Minister’s lecture

National Library of Scotland and Wikimedia UK recruit Gaelic Wikimedian

uicipeid_largeEarlier this month the National Library of Scotland and Wikimedia UK announced they are recruiting a Gaelic Wikimedian funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig to help promote the Scottish Gaelic Wikipedia, Uicipeid.

The Gaelic Wikipedian will be responsible for designing and delivering a range of activities that will encourage young Gaels to improve their language skills through editing Uicipedia. They will deliver events and workshops and work with Gaelic organisations and communities to promote knowledge about Uicipedia and increase its size and usage. They will also support the development of open knowledge and open licenses and prepare progress reports to assess the impact of their work on the development of Uicipedia.

The Wikipedian will work with the National Library, Wikimedia UK and Gaelic agencies and organisations to identify groups to engage with including young people between the ages of 16 and 25, community groups and those active in areas such as music, local history, literature etc.

The part time role will be funded for 12 months and the National Library are flexible as to where the Wikipedian will be based as they will need to deliver training throughout the Western Isles, Highlands and central Scotland.

Lucy Crompton-Reid, Chief Executive of Wikimedia UK, said:

“As the national chapter for the global Wikimedia movement we believe that open access to knowledge is a fundamental right, and a driver for social and economic development. We are delighted to be working with the National Library of Scotland on this important project, which will see the Gaelic Wikipedia becoming an increasingly important source of information created by and for Gaelic speakers, with better online coverage of Scottish Gaelic history, culture and heritage.”

Further information about the Wikimedia role and an application form is available the National Library. Applications close on the 4th November 2016.

Links

National Library of Scotland press release
Wikimedia UK press release
Uicipeid