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Added value of Welsh language skills in Wales: perceptions, aspirations and the challenge of realising linguistic potential Catrin Redknap Bwrdd yr Iaith.

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Presentation on theme: "Added value of Welsh language skills in Wales: perceptions, aspirations and the challenge of realising linguistic potential Catrin Redknap Bwrdd yr Iaith."— Presentation transcript:

1 Added value of Welsh language skills in Wales: perceptions, aspirations and the challenge of realising linguistic potential Catrin Redknap Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg/Welsh Language Board June 2010

2 Wales and the Welsh language: background facts Population of Wales: 2.9 million Welsh speakers in 2001: 20.8% (582,400) 40.8% amongst children years old

3 % able to speak Welsh

4 The Vitality of Welsh: A Statistical Balance Sheet November 2009 Percentage speaking ‘fluently’ as percentage of those able to speak Welsh ( ): 58% [61% in 1992] wlb.org.uk/english/publications/publications/the%20vitality%20of %20welsh%20a%20statistical%20balance%20sheet%20novem ber% pdf

5 2004 Welsh Language Survey (Welsh Language Board 2006) 88% of fluent speakers speak Welsh daily 26% of those not fluent speak Welsh daily wlb.org.uk/english/publications/publications/4 068.pdf

6 Translating competence into use Linguistic considerations: Need for broad spectrum of linguistic resources to operate in domestic, social, informal and workplace settings

7 Translating competence into use Other considerations: Structural (including ‘critical mass’) Organisational Legislative Attitudinal

8 ‘Buy-in’ in terms of demand for Welsh- medium education Widely-held views on educational, cognitive, cultural and employment-related benefits of bilingualism and multilingualism

9 Added advantages of Welsh-medium education Mixed and complex picture June 1998: A Competitive Edge: Why Welsh-medium Schools Perform Better (IWA, David Reynolds, Wynford Bellin, Ruth ab Ieuan) wlb.org.uk/english/publications/pages/publicat ionitem.aspx?puburl=/english/publications/pu blications/4855.pdf

10 Added advantages of Welsh-medium education ‘Added value’ in terms of achievement in English, Science, Mathematics and MFL wlb.org.uk/English/publications/Publications/4 841.pdf

11 Aspirations v Reality (or ‘real’ output as opposed to anticipated output) Do pupils achieve required skills to required level? How easy is it to assess usefulness of skills in the workplace? How successful and consistent is the message about Welsh-language skills?

12 ‘Costs’ of Welsh-medium education Personal commitment Distance and transport Learning support materials and qualifications

13 Assumption: Welsh-language skills an asset in the workplace ‘Sub-assumptions’: Enhanced range of job opportunities Career progression Financial gain

14 Impact of Bilingualism on Earnings Andrew Henley and Rhian Eleri Jones, ‘Earnings and Linguistic Proficiency in a Bilingual Economy’ (School of Management and Business, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 2003)

15 Language skills and occupational outcomes ‘Language and Occupational Status: Linguistic Elitism in the Irish Labour Market’ (Boorah, Dineen and Lynch, The Economic and Social Review, vol. 40, number 4,Winter 2009)

16 Assumption: language skills an asset in the workplace 2 pre-requisites: Appropriate and targeted skills Clear articulation of the need for skills

17 Appropriate and targeted skills Continuity of Welsh-medium provision Training of practitioners Strategic planning of opportunities to opt for Welsh-medium provision

18 Clear articulation of the need for skills Challenge of maintaining coherent account of benefits of Welsh-language skills as pupils progress through their school career and into the workplace Availability of convincing evidence of value of bilingual skills in the workplace

19 Evidence of the need for bilingual skills in the workplace Public sector: 1993 Welsh Language Act and Welsh Language Schemes Private sector: patchy nature of evidence base

20 Patchy nature of evidence base Difficulty of establishing consistent method of defining language skills (level and nature of skills) Plethora of vocational training and qualification frameworks Complexity of private sector (interests and priorities) Variable prominence of linguistic skills

21 Welsh-medium Education Strategy (Welsh Assembly Government, April 2010) Work with all partners to promote the understanding and recognition of the value of Welsh as a skill in the workplace Raise awareness of the benefits of Welsh- medium and Welsh language learning amongst stakeholders Work with partners to raise awareness of the benefits and the value of Welsh-language skills in the workplace, targeting parents, carers, learners and employers in particular

22 Welsh-medium Education Strategy (Welsh Assembly Government, April 2010) Partner bodies to raise awareness of the value of Welsh- language skills with parents, carers and learners Improve careers education, advice and guidance in relation to Welsh-medium and Welsh-language education and employment opportunities Ensure that those advising on subject choices, careers information, and work experience/placements give consistent positive messages about the value of Welsh- language skills, Welsh-medium study and employment opportunities.

23 Welsh-medium Education Strategy (Welsh Assembly Government, April 2010) Encourage AOs (awarding organisations) to increase the number and range of Welsh-medium qualifications (below HE level), in response to learner and sector needs and national strategic objectives. Work with SSCs/standard-setting bodies to measure and meet sector needs for Welsh language skills. ce/welshmededstrat/?lang=enhttp://wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/publications/guidan ce/welshmededstrat/?lang=en

24 More meaningful and clearly articulated message about the value of bilingual skills beyond the classroom: key component of future efforts to sustain the development of Welsh-medium education


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