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Welsh-speaking students welcome new language rights

Tuesday 07-02-2017 - 12:16
New student rights connect

The NUS Wales Welsh Language Committee has welcomed the Welsh Language Standards Regulations (No. 6) 2017, which were recently approved by the Assembly.

Inclusive Education is NUS Wales' priority campaign — education which everyone can access and in which everyone can succeed whatever their background or characteristics.

The ability to study through the medium of Welsh is central to this. It is also very important to be able to live through the medium of Welsh whilst studying; from accommodation to student support and sufficient resources in Welsh.

At the end of last month, the Assembly approved the new regulations to the Welsh Language Standards, which will apply to many educational institutions. These Standards were announced after the first set were rejected last year. We are proud of our role in ensuring the regulations, which will apply Welsh FE and HE institutions, are sufficient and fair.

We are extremely grateful to the opposition parties of the Fourth Assembly for meeting with us last March and agreeing to vote against the insufficient regulations which were proposed. As a result, we had more opportunity to scrutinise the Standards and put pressure on the Government to consult with students whilst re-drafting the standards.

We are also grateful to the present Government for meeting with NUS Wales representatives to discuss our views on how to improve the Standards and for considering those views whilst re-drafting the Standards.

After NUS Wales and others had campaigned, students in Wales now have the right to:

  • choose Welsh-language accommodation;
  • access a Welsh-medium intranet; and
  • have a Welsh-speaking personal tutor.

Furthermore, the Standards impose a duty on institutions to:

  • promote prospective students' right to choose Welsh-language accommodation;
  • place bilingual signs on buildings; and
  • deliver the Standards' demands in their arts centres.

We are also aware that Alun Davies AM, the Minister responsible for the Welsh language, intends to revise the process of creating and implementing the standards as part of the wider review of the Welsh language policy.

Though we are hopeful these Standards will have a positive effect on the lives of Welsh speakers and learners in Wales, we are glad the Government is considering alternative ways of promoting the language and facilitating its use.

The Welsh language is an integral part of Inclusive Education in Wales. Therefore, we are looking forward to continue working positively with the Government and others to ensure the best possible policies which enable Welsh students to live and study through the medium of Welsh.

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