University to promote Gaelic language on campuses

Offering students a course of primary teaching in Gaelic is one of several measures the university is  installing to help promote the language. Picture: Sean Bell

Offering students a course of primary teaching in Gaelic is one of several measures the university is installing to help promote the language. Picture: Sean Bell

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THE University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) has announced new plans to promote Gaelic at its 13 centres.

The university used the Royal National Mod, Scotland’s Gaelic cultural festival – which continued in Inverness yesterday with the second day of children’s competitions – as a platform to launch its second Gaelic language plan, setting out proposals to enhance use of the language at its sites throughout the region.

UHI, which was the first higher education institution to produce a language plan in 2010, has set out a strategy for continuing to develop the use of Gaelic through its curriculum and communications until 2018.

Proposals include producing more bilingual resources, encouraging staff to learn Gaelic as part of their development plans and holding more Gaelic events.

Management say their first plan had helped to increase the use of Gaelic for services to students, staff and the public. They hope the latest plan will help the university to build on these achievements.

A professional graduate diploma in primary education, which includes an option for people to train as Gaelic-medium primary teachers, is one of the university’s new Gaelic-related courses.

Commitments include increasing the amount of student web content available in Gaelic and running Gaelic careers events.

Professor Clive Mulholland, UHI’s principal and vice-chancellor, said: “As the only university based in the Highlands and Islands, we are intensely aware of our responsibilities to enhance the use and status of Gaelic.

“While we are proud of our achievements to date, we also are keen to build on these successes. This new plan demonstrates the university’s continuing commitment to the development and enhancement of Gaelic.”

Scott McNally, who represented students in the development of the plan, and is currently studying for an MSc in material culture and Gaelic history with the university, said: “This plan will be hugely beneficial to students who wish to learn Gaelic or to use Gaelic day-to-day.

“There are Gaelic-speaking students and those with an interest in Gaelic throughout the Highlands and it’s very important that the university is recognising its role in the revitalisation of the language.”

Also making an announcement at the Mod yesterday was the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which has launched its first ever Gaelic resource for schools.

The lifesaving charity has a UK and Republic of Ireland youth education programme designed to save lives at sea by conveying safety messages to young people in school.

Kenny MacLeod, RNLI youth education presenter, who is attached to Leverburgh lifeboat station on Harris said: “On my travels to schools, many teachers have requested a schools resource in Gaelic, with the four top safety tips. Now we have that resource.

“Children who live near the coast are as much at risk as pupils in the city.

“We can all become over familiar with what is on our doorstep and it is helpful to have a visual reminder of the RNLI safety tips on the classroom wall.”

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