School children strike over fall in Gaelic exam presentations

With the numbers studying Gaidhlig at certificate level plummeting as fast as sea levels are rising, a generation of young activists are taking the struggle for Gaelic into their own hands inspired by the Strike for Climate Action.

New research has shown that the numbers studying Gaidhlig to exam level has fallen by 70%, this despite an overall increase in the numbers studying the language in Gaelic Medium Education.

Some have blamed the fall on the reduction of the choices available to students to a mere six, or four, after English and Mathematics are chosen. This model is common in Highland, CNES and Argyll & Bute, all with traditional Gaelic speaking areas.

The Daily Gael spoke to some young people who will be involved in the strike.

“With our language at stake, we call for radical legislative action by the Government to combat Gaelic drop-out and its countless detrimental effects on the Gaelic language.” said Caitlin, 15.

“If the same drop-out rates happened for English there would be a national scandal, so why should we as young people take on this burden? We want the language to be around for when we grow up too!” said Mara, 13.

“If schools and councils aren’t going to take this seriously we’ll continue to strike. They’ve spent an absolute fortune on making me fluent, then they force me to choose between PE and the language of my Education. Flick sake.” said Cameron 16

“What’s the point in my generation doing all this Gaelic Medium Education if when we get to High School they don’t help us continue with it? And then when you get to S4, they’re like, aye, jog on. There are some places in the Gaidhealtachd areas where nobody is studying Gaelic to exam level, that’s actually stupid.” said Shannon, 16.

Whether the strike has the desired effect upon the powers-that-be (John Swinney, pretty much) remains to be seen, however, one young GME pupil felt it was a win-win situation for him.

“I’d probably be skiving school anyway.” said Dylan, 14.