Gaelic vital to Scotland
New research highlights strong public view on the importance of Gaelic
Eighty-one per cent of the Scottish public feel it is important that Scotland does not lose its Gaelic language traditions according to new research published today.
The report, Public Attitudes Towards the Gaelic Language, covers a variety of questions related to the language, including current usage, teaching and its heritage. Key findings include:
* 65 per cent thought more should be done to promote Gaelic in Scotland
* 81 per cent feel it is important that Scotland does not lose its Gaelic language traditions
* 70 per cent thought there should be more opportunities to learn Gaelic
* 90 per cent thought pupils should be taught Scottish studies.
* 53 per cent would like to see more Gaelic in Scottish life
Minister for Gaelic Alasdair Allan said: ‘The Scottish Government has long believed in the importance of Gaelic to our heritage, culture, tourism and economy and this research shows the majority of Scots agree the language has many benefits.
‘Such a strong swell of support for Gaelic from across the country, not just in the Gaelic-speaking heartlands, is very encouraging and just reward for the efforts of those who are working hard to ensure it remains a part of modern Scotland.
‘The questions specific to education also have interesting results with high levels of support for teaching Gaelic as a subject, and even greater support for the introduction of Scottish studies as a subject.
‘The Scottish Government is committed to developing a distinct strand of learning that focuses on Scottish history literature, languages, and culture and I will be chairing a working group on the issue in the next few weeks.
‘We now have a clear, up-to-date picture on Gaelic’s role in 2011 and I will be working closely with Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Education Scotland and other key bodies on harnessing these findings to ensure Gaelic continues to thrive.’
Bòrd na Gàidhlig Cathraiche (Chair) Arthur Cormack added: ‘This research reconfirms the results of previous surveys. Each time the public has been asked, the majority support the maintenance of the Gaelic language and recognise the need for greater access to learning the language. The public has also been consistent in its desire that Scotland does not lose its Gaelic identity and Bòrd na Gàidhlig – through the delivery of the National Plan for Gaelic and other measures – will continue to promote Gaelic as a language for the whole of Scotland.
‘In practice, this means making Gaelic accessible to anyone who wishes to learn the language in or out of school, appreciate Gaelic through the arts and media or use Gaelic in the home and community. Local authorities and public bodies in Scotland have a key role to play, with the assistance of Bòrd na Gàidhlig where necessary, in ensuring that Gaelic thrives anywhere in Scotland where there is a desire to learn or use the language.’
Gaelic learner David Sutherland said: ‘The Gaelic Ulpan course provided for council employees by Glasgow City Council has been a fun and yet very effective way to learn what is perceived to be a very difficult language.
‘The majority of colleagues had no previous knowledge of Gaelic and it has been amazing to see how quickly the course has got them both speaking and understanding what others are saying in such a short space of time. It has been of incredible value, helping cement what I had been taught in grammar classes as well as learning pronunciation, new vocabulary and giving confidence in speaking.’
The full research report Public Attitudes Towards the Gaelic Language is available here.
Research shows that investment in Gaelic is delivering economic benefits for the whole of Scotland. As well as enhancing our global reputation for culture and creativity, it is creating employment opportunities in all parts of the country and helping to revitalise our rural communities. For example:
* 288 FTE jobs, #7.9m of employee income and over #12m of gross value added from funding MG Alba
* #2 million in direct and #1 million in indirect expenditure from the Royal National Mod.
The latest exam results showed an increase in the number of entries for Higher Gaelic to 116 with pass rates across various levels around 80 per cent. This was also the first time that any Higher qualification has been offered in the medium of Gaelic. Eleven candidates from the Glasgow Gaelic School took Higher mathematics in the medium of Gaelic whereby all questions were posed in the Gaelic language with a 90.9 per cent pass rate.
For local radio stations: clips of Dr Allan talking about the research are available at: www.scotland.gov.uk/news.
The Scottish Government’s innovative Engage for Education site allows users to read blogs from Ministers, post comments and get involved in workshops on issues relating to education http://www.engageforeducation.org.