Gaelic Education is a priority for Bòrd na Gàidhlig and the Bòrd is responsible for advising the Scottish Ministers and other people on Gaelic Education. Bòrd na Gàidhlig is also tasked with formulating a National Strategy for Gaelic Education.
Education is one of the areas where great advances have been made in recent years and Bòrd na Gàidhlig wants to build on this success. The number of pupils who are in Gaelic Medium Education at primary school level has risen from 24 in 1985 to 2418 in the school year 2011/2012. 730 children registered in Gaelic nurseries in 2011/12.
When it comes to Gaelic as a subject, there were 1,104 fluent speakers taking Gaelic as a subject at secondary school in the school year 2011/2012, and 2,643 learners taking Gaelic as a subject in the same year. There are 3747 high school pupils taking Gaelic classes (2011/2012).
The number of students who are in Gaelic Further or Higher Education or who are taking a Gaelic course at that level has risen also.
Further and Higher Education and Adults
In addition to education at school and pre-school level, Further and Higher Education is also very important and there are a number of courses available related to Gaelic at colleges and universities in Scotland.
At some institutions courses are available which are taught entirely through the medium of Gaelic – such as those on offer at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye and Lews Castle College on Lewis.
Degrees in Celtic and Gaelic in the universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, with Gaelic a key element of many of those degrees.
Teacher education courses are offered by Strathclyde University, Aberdeen University and UHI to students intending to teach in the Gaelic education system.
There are plenty of opportunities if an adult wants to learn Gaelic, and organisations such as Clì Gàidhlig are very much involved in this area. There are plenty of self-teaching courses and distance learning options, and there are also a number of Gaelic classes run by various people in communities.
Though there have been notable successes in Gaelic Education, there is still much work to be done. There are difficulties such as a lack of teachers, especially with regard to the teaching of subjects through the medium of Gaelic in secondary schools, and a lack of teaching materials in some areas.