Ladin teachers visit Welsh schools

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Wed Sep 19 18:08:42 UTC 2007

  Ladin teachers visit Welsh schools [image: Print]
Cymru, Monday, 10 September 2007 by Huw Jones

 A group of 14 teachers from the Ladin community, in Sud Tirol, northern
Italy, have been visiting schools in Sir Ddinbych (Denbighshire), north east
Wales, to assess how pupils benefit from bilingual education. The education
system in the Sud Tirol promotes Ladin in schools for very young children,
but primary and secondary schools tend to teach in Italian and German.

In Wales about 25% of pupils attend Welsh medium schools and the visit to
Denbighshire let the Ladins experience some of the diversity in the
education system. The visit included a school which teaches through Welsh in
a seaside town where the majority of the population are originally from
northern England. They also visited towns with a greater proportion of Welsh
speakers, where the school teaches primarily in English, but with a stream
of pupils taking their lessons in Welsh.

As with many other areas of Europe where a language was excluded from
education system in the past, there has been a huge growth in the numbers of
Welsh medium schools during the past 30 years. Some Welsh medium schools in
south east Wales, an urbanised area with less Welsh speakers, are
overflowing with new Welsh medium schools. For example, Caerffili
(Caerphilly) and Abertawe (Swansea) have opened new Welsh medium schools to
meet the growing demand.

Unfortunately the same can not be same for many rural village schools which
face increasing pressures to close or to amalgamate.  Last week protesters
occupied a school near Pontyberem, south west Wales, which closed recently
because of rural depopulation and modernisation plans.

Members of the community and protesters argue that the school is often many
villages' only resource and a pillar for the language. The local education
authority on the other hand have condemned the protesters for "wanting to go
back to the Victorian era." (Eurolang 2007)

Sir Ddinbych /Denbighshire County Council:
Parents for Welsh Education:
The Ladin language:


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