Gaelic In Schools

The Scotsman, May 16, 1922.



The Gaelic Society of London has received the following statement on the position of the Gaelic language in Scotland from the Secretary Of Scotland:-
(1) The parishes or districts, regarded as Gaelic speaking.
From information gathered from His Majesty's chief Inspector it would appear that in October 1919 the Argyll Authority Adopted the recommendation of its Gaelic Sub-Committee that the whole of the county be defined as a Gaelic speaking area. No similar formal action has been taken in Inverness-shire, Ross-shire, or Sutherland-shire. In the first-named county, however, a general scheme of work for the teaching of Gaelic was submitted by the Education Authority and approved provisionally by the Scottish Education Department in 1920.
From information supplied by His Majesty's Chief Inspector for the Highland Division, it is considered that the Gaelic-speaking areas are as follows:-

(a) All the parishes in the Outer Islands and Skye, together with Small Isles.
(b) Glenelg and Arnisdale districts of Glenelg Parish.
(c) Glenuig, Mingarry, Eilanshona, Arisaig, and Lochailort districts of Arisaig Parish.
(d) Onich, North Ballachulish, and Blarmacfoldach district of Kilmallie.
(e) Roy Bridge district of Kilmonivaig.
(f) Dalchreichard, Bunloit, and Corrimony districts of Glenurquhart and Glenmoriston.
(g) Culburnie and Tomnacross districts of Kiltarlity.

Lewis, Lochbroom, Gairloch, Applecross, Lochcarron, Lochalsh, Kintail, and Glenshiel.

The parishes of Farr, Tongue, Durness, Eddrachillis, and Assynt; also the fishing village of Embo

(2) Provision made in each of those districts for the teaching of Gaelic and the number of scholars being taught.

AGYLL-SHIRE - At the end of 1920 Gaelic was taught in 36 schools, and the number of scholars being taught is approximately 1200.
IIVERNESS-SHIRE - About 100 schools in all are regarded as corning within the scope of the Inverness-shire Authority's general scheme of work for the teaching of Gaelic, and up to date about 70 of these have submitted definite schemes of instruction. The number of pupils received instruction is estimated at approximately 3120.
ROSS-SHIRE - No definite general scheme, as in the case of Inverness, has yet been submitted, The groat majority of the teachers are Gaelic-speaking; and Gaelic is frequently used in the infant and junior divisions, especially as an aid in imparting instruction. In the senior divisions the Gaelic scriptures continue to be read, and the stimulus afforded by grants of the Highland Trust and the Gaelic Society of London is acknowledged. It would seem that formal instruction in Gaelic under a definite scheme submitted and approved is as yet given in only 24 schools, the number of children participating being about 500.
SUTHERLANDSHIRE - Until recently an itinerant teacher, with no recognised qualification to teach, gave some service in the Gaelic .speaking areas, but this arrangement has come to an end.

(3) Whether in the districts in which no provision was made the failure is due to the scarcity of qualified teachers.
Generally speaking where no provision is made in teaching Gaelic in Gaelic-speaking areas the failure is duo to the scarcity of qualified teachers willing to take service in these districts. From Argyllshire it is reported that there are enough Gaelic-speaking teachers, but their distribution does not cover all the Gaelic-speaking areas. It is remarked that Gaelic suffers less in this county from scarcity of teachers than any other subject. From Inverness-shire it is reported that the majority of the teachers are Gaelic-speaking but an appreciable percentage have little literary knowledge of the language. In Ross-shire the great majority of the teachers are Gaelic-speaking, and, as previously stated, utilise the language in giving general instruction. In Sutherlandshire there is no lack of Gaelic-speaking teachers, but here (as in Argyll) there is a lack of such teachers ready to serve in the districts mentioned. They cannot be compelled to do so.