New scheme puts Welsh language on equal footing
6 June 2014
A new scheme to bring equality for the Welsh language is currently being rolled out across the University. Backed by the Language Commissioner's Office and held up as a model of good practice, the renewed Welsh Language Scheme sets out to staff and students how the University will work to further embed the Welsh language within its culture, educational provision and working practices.
"As Wales's only Russell Group university, with a 36000-strong population of staff and students, Cardiff has a duty to ensure that the Welsh language sits on an equal footing to English," said Vice Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan at an event that marked the scheme's launch.
He added: "Our renewed Welsh Language Scheme means that we now have a clear and instructive road map to carry out our cultural obligations to the people of Wales, on which so much depends on protecting the health of its language.
"The scheme reaffirms how important the Welsh language is, not only to our culture and society, but to fostering the economic development of Wales […] enabling us to strengthen our clout in the international market.
"Now more than ever do we need to protect what makes us unique, so that generations to come can continue to benefit from Wales's unique natural resource and to draw from a rich seam of bilingual citizens."
The chief aim of the revised scheme is to engender a change in attitude towards the Welsh language and to actively promote the principle that Welsh will be treated no less favourably than English when dealing with University staff, current and prospective students, as well as the general public.
Also among the scheme's aims is to ensure that the University has sufficient Welsh speaking staff to meet the needs of its students and members of the public, whilst recognising and providing any training needs for staff. In this respect Dr Jeremy Evas from the School of Welsh spoke during the launch of his hope that Welsh and English speaking students alike would graduate with an increased linguistic awareness, as a consequence of the scheme.
Dr Evas said: "We have to make sure that our Welsh speaking graduates are equipped with the skills to work in a bilingual nation and that non-Welsh speakers possess the knowledge to understand and respect the implications of this."
Also speaking at the launch were Dr Angharad Naylor from Cardiff's branch of Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (CCC); Cerith Rhys Jones, the Students' Union's Welsh language officer, who said that the scheme should be viewed as "an opportunity and not a burden"; and Dr Hefin Jones from the School of Biosciences, who hosted the event.
The Welsh Language Scheme is a statutory document prepared under the Welsh Language Act 1993 and the Government of Wales Act 2006.