Ignatius of Loyola, the sixteenth century founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) took no prisoners when it came to the imposition of the Catholic faith across Europe. He said,
“Give me the child and I will mould the man.”
And be in no doubt, that this same uncompromising diktat is precisely what is going on in Wales right now.
On 3rd June BBC Wales broadcast a programme titled ‘Make Me Welsh’(and for once it wasn’t kidding!), about the compulsory Welsh medium primary schools in Gwynedd – there are no English medium schools.
Here are some of the choicer quotes:
A teacher, “We need to change their habits.” Hold on, are we talking about juvenile delinquents here?
A parent, “The teacher said I have to speak Welsh all the time.”
Forgive me, but if all this isn’t about coercion and compulsion then I’m a pat of laverbread and if anyone out there tries to claim that compulsion is not the name of the Welsh language game, then do tell me how it can be otherwise when there is no choice? But here’s the thing and the latest evidence is clear, the education of children from homes that are non-Welsh speaking, suffers at Welsh medium schools and remember this is the vast majority of homes in Wales.
In England and Scotland foreign language tuition has become compulsory at primary school level. In Wales, the Welsh language is compulsory and no other.
In an international world of integrated economics, finance and business, what use is the Welsh language beyond the Severn Bridge tolls? More to the point, what use is it to youthful flair, ambition and a desire to get a good job in a modern global world – unless of course, a Welsh youngster wishes to work for the rest of his/her life in a Welsh public sector?
Ceri James, the former director of the National Centre for Languages Wales (part of the WJEC) and whom I have interviewed in the past, was made redundant along with a load of other severe funding cuts at CILT. His own research concluded that a mere 22% of Welsh schoolchildren are learning a foreign language and this is even less in some areas, at 11%.
Mr James’ departure is a regrettable loss for foreign language learning in Welsh schools, but then as we all know, the Welsh language must come first in all things, as must its accumulative billions of pounds of taxpayer funding:
Heaven forbid that this should ever be cut?
I left messages with two CILT officials to discuss the above, but I cannot even report that ‘no-one was available’ – I didn’t get a response full stop, but then Welsh institutions usually dive for cover when some serious, unpalatable scrutiny is in the air and I do apparently have a bit of a reputation for being a journalistic lout but what the hell.
Before going any further, Post readers should note that Welsh medium schools being superior to their English medium counterparts is a fantasy; all Welsh schools are letting down our children in a big way, as clearly evidenced by the Estyn and Pisa reports: Wales ranks 43rd out of 65 developed countries when it comes to numeracy and literacy.
The ambitions and careers of Welsh school children are being seriously disadvantaged in order to satisfy the whims of a minority, politically motivated Welshification agenda.
What is now going on in Wales in respect of Welsh education, is nothing less than a profound assault on democratic principle and parental choice.
Preservation of the language through free-will and consent?
I think not.