Language Strategy: 'No enough growth in Welsh medium education' to reach million speakers target

The language movement has said that the Welsh Government's new language strategy does not go far enough in terms of planning the expansion and normalization of Welsh medium education for the number of Welsh speakers to reach a million by 2050. 

 According to the Welsh medium education strategy announced in 2010 by the Welsh Government, their target was to ensure that 30% of seven year olds were in Welsh-medium education by 2020. In the strategy announced today, the target has fallen to 24% by 2021, and it doesn't forsee reaching 30% in Welsh medium education until 2031.  

Cymdeithas estimate that the growth in Welsh medium education set out in the document would lead to an increase of only 110,000 in the number of Welsh speakers over the next 33 years; compared to the over 400,000 additional speakers needed in order to reach a million by mid-century.   

 In September 2016 the Minister Alun Davies committed to "replace [the second language Welsh qualifications] ... in 2021" with one Welsh language qualification Welsh for all pupils. The Government's new language strategy does not repeat the commitment 

Toni Schiavone, chair of Cymdeithas' education group, said: 

"The content of the Government's language strategy is far from sufficient if we are to reach a million Welsh speakers. Indeed, the targets are lower than those in the strategy they announced seven years ago. The decrease in these targets raises big questions about the Government's desire to achieve the target. The strategy is weak and totally inadequate as it stands. It is surprising there is no mention of the clear commitment made by both the Minister and the First Minister to remove second language Welsh and to establish a new qualification in its place by 2021."