Gaelic Further and Higher Education

– in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd May 2013.

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Photo of Dave Thompson Dave Thompson Scottish National Party

1. To ask the Scottish Government how it supports Gaelic further and higher education. (S4O-02135)

Photo of Alasdair Allan Alasdair Allan Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government is committed to supporting all levels of Gaelic education. We understand the value that the further and higher education sectors bring to Gaelic. We are working closely with the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council and those sectors to deliver high-quality courses, including in areas such as teacher training and research, which benefit the whole of Scotland.

Photo of Dave Thompson Dave Thompson Scottish National Party

The minister will know that Sabhal Mòr Ostaig has been a great success since it was founded 40 years ago. The latest development of the Gaelic college in a new village at Kilbeg, with substantial funding from the Scottish Government, will continue that progress, and confirms the Government’s support for Gaelic.

Does the minister agree that the case for Gaelic further and higher education is now indisputable? Will he continue to support Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, which is the jewel in the crown of Gaelic education?

Photo of Alasdair Allan Alasdair Allan Scottish National Party

I agree with the member whole-heartedly. I agree not just about Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, but about the recent development there; I recognise the value of that development at Kilbeg.

The Government also recognises the role that the European regional development fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the funding council and Highland Council have had in ensuring that that success has come to pass.

Photo of Elizabeth Smith Elizabeth Smith Conservative

Can the minister tell us how many Gaelic-medium teacher training places will be available for session 2013-14?

Photo of Alasdair Allan Alasdair Allan Scottish National Party

An additional 20 places are hoped for for session 2013-14. The number of Gaelic-medium-qualified teachers who have been coming through this year has been higher than in previous years. I will get the figures to Liz Smith in writing.