The Welsh Government has announced that free Welsh lessons will be made available to anyone aged 16-25 and all education professionals.
From September, 18-25 year olds will be able to enroll in courses at the National Welsh Learning Center free of charge. Most courses are currently delivered online in virtual classrooms, using Zoom or Teams, with in-person classes also available.
Learners will be able to access lessons tailored to their own level of Welsh, from beginners and introductory lessons to advanced and proficiency levels. 18 – 25 year olds will not have to pay when registering.
A new online learning resource will also be piloted for 16-18 year olds attending school, university or an apprenticeship scheme, to improve their Welsh speaking skills. The resource will be provided by Say Something in Welsh and the National Center for Learning Welsh starting in September. It will complement a broader set of training for 16-18 year olds, whether or not they are in school.
All teachers, principals and teaching assistants will also be able to access free Welsh lessons, as part of the Welsh Government’s efforts to strengthen the teaching of Welsh in the new curriculum and increase the number of practitioners who can teach in Welsh.
The National Center for Learning Welsh successfully launched an online introductory course for teachers and leaders in February 2020, with approximately 2,800 registrations. Other courses available will include the school’s well-established sabbatical program for practitioners. A new digital portal will also be developed by the summer to help education staff choose the course that best suits their needs.
The Welsh Government has committed to providing free Welsh language learning to all 16 to 25 year olds in its co-operation agreement with Plaid Cymru.
Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, said:
“I want everyone to have the opportunity to learn Welsh. Not everyone is lucky enough to learn Welsh from an early age and many of us decide after leaving school that we would like to speak Welsh more often. It is important that we increase opportunities to learn our language so that more people can use Welsh in their daily lives.
“Many young adults may decide they want to start learning Welsh, build on their existing abilities, or simply want to boost their confidence so they can use Welsh more, whether in the workplace, with friends or in their daily lives, their local community.
“We also want to increase the number of learners in Welsh language education and training. So there is a growing need for Welsh-speaking educators, so I want to make it as easy as possible for them to access Welsh lessons for free.
“Welsh belongs to all of us. This is another step to give everyone the chance to speak Welsh and help us reach our goal of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.”
Cefin Campbell MS, Designated Member, said:
“Everyone should have the right in our country to learn, work and live their life in Welsh – the language belongs to all of us. Today’s announcement is another step forward as we expect one million Welsh speakers and beyond.
“By offering free Welsh lessons to all 16-25 year olds, we are removing another barrier to accessing the language and all the many benefits it brings to people’s lives.
“Offering free, easy-to-access courses is a small but crucial contribution to our efforts to extend Welsh citizenship to all. I hope many, many people will benefit from this new policy forged in the Welsh cooperative spirit. Together we make the difference. »