Thursday, 18 June 2009

Is the Welsh language prolonging the recession?

Posted on Bevan blog on 18th June

That seems to be the suggestion made by two leading Welsh economists.

Writing in the latest Bevan Foundation review Professor David Blackaby and Professor Philip Murphy of Swansea University assess what actions the Assembly Government could take to deal with the recession. Not many, seems to be the conclusion.

Education is one area where they suggest WAG could do more to up-skill the Welsh workforce. So what’s stopping them? That damned obsession with the language…

Does the schooling system provide sufficient business and economic skills to its pupils? Evidence suggests these skills are highly rewarded in the labour market but they are not a mainstay of the curriculum. Similarly other features of the current curriculum may need to be reviewed. For example is the amount of time given to learning Welsh in schools an efficient use of resources? If it should remain compulsory should it be compulsory up to the age of 16?

Having planted that idea the authors go on discuss what can be done to make Wales a more business friendly environment. And then, up it pops again…

Should the Welsh Assembly Government consider the business costs of additional legislation in relation to the Welsh Language?

It is long article – long on analysis, short on solutions – and I don’t want to unfairly seize on one element, but it seems odd to me that they keep coming back to the cost of language policy. What of the costs of other policies deemed to have a social benefit?

What is their vision – a nation of English speaking entrepreneurs?

No comments: