Thanks to Golwg 360, I found out about the launch of a new campaign to make parents aware of the benefits of Welsh-medium education for their children. It was also featured on Newyddion 9 last night:
Since then, I've searched through the rest of the media to see if this new campaign had been reported anywhere in English. So far as I can see, it hasn't been reported on the BBC, ITV, the Western Mail or the Daily Post. The only mention of the campaign in English is on the Welsh Government's website.
How on earth can we take a so-called awareness campaign seriously if no attempt is made to have it reported in the English language media. After all, the target audience of the campaign is specifically parents who do not speak Welsh, not those who already can.
In part, this is the fault of the Welsh Government for not taking enough trouble to have the campaign publicized in the English language media. But it is also the fault of the media organizations for not bothering to do it ... especially the BBC, since they have must have taken a conscious editorial decision to report the story in Welsh, but not bother to report it to the very people the campaign is meant to be aimed at.
So, in an attempt to spread the message to those who only speak English, let me reproduce what it says on the WG website:
First Minister launches Welsh-medium education campaign
First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has today launched an information campaign to raise awareness of Welsh-medium and bilingual education, Live in Wales: Learn in Welsh?
The First Minister launched the campaign at Ysgol Gymraeg Trelyn, Blackwood, where he met with parents and read a Welsh language story to children in the reception class.
The three year campaign will target expectant parents and parents with children aged 0-3, offering them information and advice so that they are fully informed when making a decision on whether to send their child to a Welsh-medium or bilingual school or not. The campaign aims to dispel some of the myths around Welsh-medium education.
The First Minister spoke to parents who do not speak Welsh about their experience of sending their child to a Welsh-medium school. The First Minister said:
"Parents are not always aware, or do not have easy access to information about Welsh-medium schools. This three year campaign will raise awareness of Welsh-medium and bilingual education so that parents can make an informed choice.
"I understand the concerns some parents may have about sending their children to Welsh-medium and bilingual schools, especially if they don’t speak Welsh themselves. This campaign is designed to ensure parents have all the information they need to be confident that whatever choice they make is the right one for them and their child."
Education Minister, Huw Lewis said:
"Our Live in Wales: Learn in Welsh? campaign aims to dispel some of the myths around Welsh medium education, such as that non-Welsh speaking parents are unable to help their children with homework and their development.
"Welsh-medium education can offer children new skills and can be a very enriching experience. We know that some parents are put-off because of a lack of understanding of the support available for those who are non-Welsh speaking. Our campaign aims to inform and reassure parents when making the important decision about their child’s education."
The growth in Welsh-medium education has been very successful, especially in the Caerphilly area which has seen the largest growth across Wales in Welsh-medium education during the last ten years. As people said in Y Gynhadledd Fawr, building on this success is key to ensuring the language continues to thrive.
For further information about the campaign, parents can visit the Welsh Government website and the Choice-Dewis facebook page.
I've tried to find a copy of the booklet featured in the video and on the facebook page, but can't find it. So to me, it looks like a very half-hearted start all round. It matches the tone of what Carwyn Jones said in the Newyddion 9 interview. Instead of emphasizing the benefits, his message was, "Well, it's up to parents. There's nothing stopping them."
Let's hope it gets better.