Course to create new generation of Gaelic-speaking professionals in Scotland

A new Gaelic 'immersion' course is being set up at Glasgow University to help create a new generation of Gaelic-speaking professionals in Scotland.

Glasgow University is to launch a 'Gaelic' immersion course with students split between the city and the Western Isles. PIC: Creative Commons.

The one-year course at Glasgow University will offer an intensive language learning experience for students and adult learners.

Students will undertake eight-months of tuition at the university followed by a three-week residential school at Ceòlas Uibhist, the Gaelic education and cultural centre in South Uist.

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The course has been set up with a grant of £455,000 from the Scottish Funding Council.

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The new course will help meet demand for Gaelic-speaking teachers as pupil numbers rise.

Morag Campbell, SFC Assistant Director, Gaelic Policy said: “Language immersion is vital for students’ fluency and confidence in a language, particularly at the levels required for professional careers.

"Glasgow is home to the largest concentration of Gaelic speakers outwith the Western Isles and has a growing number of new Gaelic speakers, as a result of the success and demand for Gaelic-medium education.

“We are delighted to fund this initiative in support of the National Gaelic Language Plan, and increasing the number of Gaelic speaking professionals in Scotland.”

The immersion year will be available to undergraduate students on Gaelic programmes at the University prior to entering honours level studies. It will offer the choice to study either a four-year or a five-year degree depending upon the language abilities of individual students.

The immersion year will also be available as a standalone Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) qualification on either a full-time or a part-time basis over two years.

Fiona Dunn, the University of Glasgow’s Gaelic Development Manager and Principal Investigator for the project, said parents of children taking up the growing number of places at Gaelic schools will also benefit from the course.

Ms Dunn said: “We are delighted to receive this award from the SFC as it will support more students in achieving fluency in the language and help to realise one of the primary commitments in our current Gaelic Language Plan.”

Ms Dunn added: “As Gaelic-medium education continues to expand across the central belt, the ability to offer this year as a CertHE is particularly important with more parents and adult learners in need of intensive learning opportunities.”

Gillebrìde MacMillan, Head of Celtic & Gaelic and Project Co-Investigator, said: “This is a hugely exciting development for the subject area that will ensure parity for Gaelic students with those studying on modern language programmes.

“We are particularly pleased to be working closely with a traditional Gaelic-speaking community to deliver aspects of this course and going forward, we also anticipate unique opportunities to support students wishing to pursue careers in Gaelic teaching who may have studied a range of other subjects.”