Leaders to give free talk on Gaelic in education

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Iain MacMillan

The heads of two Western Isles education institutions are to give a free talk on Gaelic in education.

Nicolson Institute rector, Dr Frances Murray, and Lews Castle College UHI principal, Iain Macmillan, will explore the challenges and opportunities associated with Gaelic in education. Topics will include the impact of the curriculum for excellence and community and partnership working.

The talk, which will be delivered at the Nicolson Institute later this month, is part of a series of free Gaelic lectures taking place this year. Organised by the University of the Highlands and Islands, the series marks the 60th anniversary of Lews Castle College UHI, a partner of the university.

Based on the theme of Gaelic in modern life, the lectures recognise Gaelic as an integral part of Scotland’s heritage and national identity. Head of BBC ALBA, Margaret Mary Murray, spoke about Gaelic media in Glasgow earlier this year and a lecture on Gaelic and publishing will take place in Benbecula in June.

The talks also tie in with courses offered by the university, which include degrees in Gaelic language and culture; Gaelic with education; Gaelic and development and a higher education certificate in Gaelic and communication. All of these courses are offered through Lews Castle College UHI.

Highlighting one of the areas he will speak about in the lecture, Iain Macmillan said: “We have been very successful at engaging learners in Gaelic language acquisition, but we are less successful at engaging people who have been brought up in Gaelic households or communities in developing their language skills for everyday use. People like myself are all too often intimidated when confronted with Gaelic learners who, as a result of their learning, have developed what appears to be a wider vocabulary and proper grammar. We need to improve our confidence and willingness to use the language if it is to thrive in our communities.”

Dr Frances Murray added: “To ensure we consolidate the improvements made in Gaelic medium provision and before we can look to further expansion, we must be very clear about where the challenges lie.

James Fraser, principal and vice-chancellor of the university, welcomed the lecture, saying: “We are delighted that Dr Frances Murray and Iain Macmillan are speaking as part of this lecture series. The University of the Highlands and Islands is spread across the Gàidhealtachd and aspires to be central to the maintenance and revival of the Gaelic Language. Lews Castle College UHI is vital to the university’s commitment to and aspirations for Gaelic.”

The Gaelic in education talk will take place from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday 16 May at the Nicolson Institute, Stornoway. Parts of the lecture will be delivered in Gaelic and there will also be simultaneous interpretation into English available through headphones. To book a FREE place, contact the university’s events team on 01463 279 344 or at events@uhi.ac.uk.

To find out more about the university’s lecture series or Gaelic courses, visit www.uhi.ac.uk


Media contact

Susan Szymborski
Communications officer
Tel: 01463 279222
Email: susan.szymborski@uhi.ac.uk