Successes and Challenges of Developing the Basque Language in the Basque Country
This week (28 Sept – 2 Oct), a delegation from Wales’ further education sector is visiting the Basque Country in order to share good practice on bilingualism in the post-16 education and training sector.
Here are the delegation’s observations from the first day following presentations and meetings with the Basque Government.
What an inspirational day in the company of the officials from the Basque Department of Education, Language Policy and Culture.
It was wonderful to hear about the success and examples of good practice over thr past 30 years which has increased Basque speakers from 21.9% to 36.4%.
Most Basque speakers are in the under 25 age range (73%) which is an indicator of the success of the government’s pioneering and inclusive policy for the individual’s lifelong linguistic journey.
The important messages of the day for us were the fact that the vision is a long term strategy with a robust policy supporting the work of teaching staff and the student.
How interesting it was to learn about the very strong linguistic support provided for teachers and tutors across the education spectrum that is IRALE, which means that the numbers educators and trainers who cannot speak Basque are now very low.
North Wales Police’s strategy, where basic understanding of Welsh is a minimum requirement for every job, is an operational policy in the education and public sectors in the context of the Basque language here in the Basque country.
Applying the language is the norm here and it was a pleasure to hear individuals today showing immense pride in their language.
Although the language policies of the Basque country are progressive and are clearly successful in the primary and secondary schools, the government admitted that the vocational sector continues to be more challenging. In this sector, 26% study through the Basque language. This compares very favourably with Wales.
We look forward to our visit to TKNIKA tomorrow.
Thank you to the team #CymruBasg for jointly contributing to the blog, namely: Angharad Mai Roberts, Claire Roberts, Bryn Hughes Parry, Anna Fflur Davies, Branwen Thomas, Caren Efans, Osian Jones, Fflur Rees Jones, Helen Humphreys, Lowri Morgans.