Welsh language provision for the 21st century…

For many years establishing the future sustainability of the Welsh language within academia has been a priority for both the Welsh Government and Wales’ universities, and the launch of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol was a historic moment in turning this aspiration into a reality.

The culmination of hard work and cooperation between Universities Wales, Welsh higher education institutions and other key stakeholders, including the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol’s core mission is the simple but powerful principle that all students in Wales are entitled to Welsh medium higher education of the highest standard.

Much has happened over the last 12 months. During the summer the Coleg Cymraeg launched a Certificate in Welsh Language Skills that will, for the first time, establish a common and recognised way of demonstrating the language skills of students. The Certificate will enable students to give evidence to employers of their ability to communicate confidently and professionally in Welsh, both verbally and in writing. The introduction of the Certificate is a big step forward as employers will now have the assurance and confidence that students who have this Certificate are qualified to work bilingually.

The Certificate will enable students to give evidence to employers of their ability to communicate confidently and professionally in Welsh, both verbally and in writing…

During the Vale of Glamorgan National Eisteddfod in 2012, the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol launched a new publication by Professor R Gwynedd Parry – Cymru’r Gyfraith: Sylwadau ar Hunaniaeth Gyfreithiol (Wales’ Laws: Comments on Legal Identity). Not only is this the first time in around thirty years that an academic Welsh medium law volume has been published, but it is also the first academic volume to be published following a grant from the Coleg. This is an important first step – as the Coleg prepares a new subject plan for law, it will continue to work to ensure that similar publications are considered in order to promote Welsh medium teaching. For example, it has committed to working towards the restoration of Philosophy’s place as a Welsh medium subject area at Welsh universities, and as a sign of that commitment a formal partnership with the philosophy section of The Guild of Graduates has been established.

The Coleg’s branches across Wales will be integral to the Welsh medium organisation of universities, bringing together teaching staff, students and other representatives to discuss and consider Welsh medium issues both institutionally and nationally.

September 2012 saw a further milestone when the Coleg launched its academic scheme – the first time any higher education body has set out to plan Welsh medium provision on a national level.

Ensuring more Welsh medium study opportunities and training, and with the commitment to appoint over 120 new lecturers by 2016, the Academic Plan outlines the development of excellent study pathways, modules and resources that are key to its success.

The Academic Board of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol recognises four key themes that are imperative to planning the provision:

  • innovative learning of the highest quality
  • sustainability
  • employability and society
  • partnership with students

The Plan is both ambitious and historic and if fully implemented, the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, through all the universities in Wales, will have made a very substantial contribution to the aspiration set out by the Welsh Government of creating a confident and bilingual Wales.