Dyfodol i’r Iaith has welcomed the deal struck between Labour and Plaid Cymru. The organisation is pleased to note that a commitment to ensure the growth of the Welsh language has again been confirmed and that the document includes several steps in the right direction regarding Welsh language policies.
Heini Gruffudd, Dyfodol’s Chair said:
“It is good to see that the agreement includes a number of measures aimed at regenerating the Welsh language and that this, it would appear, is part of the overall vision for the next three years.
We welcome confirmation that the problem of second homes is being taken seriously and, likewise the measures regarding the expansion of Welsh language education and ensuring that Welsh history receives its due attention within the Curriculum.
There are also measures which are key to supporting the growth of the language: Acknowledgement of the importance of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and the National Centre for Learning Welsh, for example, in addition to developing the Arfor project and a new emphasis on media and culture that is specific and appropriate to Wales. We also welcome the intention to expand and facilitate the Welsh Language Standards and the conservation of Welsh place names.
In welcoming all these proposals, we must however ensure that the document represents much more than fair words and goodwill. We must continue to insist that all of the measures which offer support to the language remain high on the agenda and are adequately funded and resourced.”
Following Ieuan Wyn Jones’s comments in his book on his political career, Dyfodol i’r Iaith calls again for the establishment of an arms’-length Body to plan the future of the Welsh language.
According to Dyfodol i’r Iaith, extensive areas require urgent attention. The Government seems to be increasingly aware of the need for action on housing and the economy, the need to develop local communities, but implementation is lacking
Heini Gruffudd, Chair of Dyfodol i’r Iaith, said, “The lack of holistic planning is clear. The Welsh-medium education targets are becoming increasingly inadequate, there is a clear lack of funding to develop Welsh language learning for adults and in the workplace. The programme to teach Welsh to teachers is insufficient, with talk of introducing 60-hour courses, where 600-hour ones are needed.
“The establishment of an arm’s length body, with permanent specialist staff, who will be able to create a complete ongoing programme, to be accepted by various Government departments, is long overdue. Such a body would be able to give creative direction to language planning in Wales, with an emphasis on families and the community. It will be able to promote effectively and freely, and create plans over a long term. With intelligent regulation, and working with the Government’s Welsh Department, it will be possible to create robust conditions for the prosperity of the Welsh language.
“We look forward to discussing this with the Government, which, in all good faith, is slow in driving things forward.”
Dyfodol i’r Iaith has called for a national discussion on how to ensure that the needs of the Welsh language and racial equality can be harmonised and promoted. This is in response to the recent report on the opportunities provided by the Arts Council of Wales and the National Museum Wales for black people and people of colour.
In the press, particularly the English press, the report’s conclusions were reported as being an indictment of the Welsh language, as if language requirements are invariably a barrier to equality and diversity within these sectors.
Heini Gruffudd, Dyfodol’s Chair said:
“The press’s interpretation of this report was provocative and erroneous, suggesting that it is not possible for a black person or person of colour to speak or learn Welsh. We know, of course, that this suggestion is both offensive and nonsensical and that many more appropriate and flexible opportunities to learn the language are needed.
Promoting the Welsh language and ensuring racial equality is not a matter of choice or prioritisation; both must go hand in hand if the Welsh language is to flourish and be enriched by becoming the medium for diverse experiences.
Neither is the Welsh Government free from this fallacy. They have rightly decided to include the history of black people and people of colour within the National Curriculum, but have not acknowledged the need to learn about Welsh history. Once again, this is not a matter of either / or. History is key to our understanding of the present, and without the specific context of Welsh history, the history of black people and people of colour in Wales is deprived of the framework which is essential to our understanding of that history.”