The Welsh Government has published its new five-year Work Programme for Cymraeg 2050, the national strategy to reach 1 million Welsh speakers and double the daily use of the language by 2050.
The programme is the second since the initiative was launched in 2017 and sets out the policies that the Welsh Government will put in place over the next 5 years to help reach the goal set for 2050.
One of the interim milestones is for 30% of children in Year 1 to be in Welsh-medium education by 2031. To help achieve that, the new Programme sets a target to increase the percentage of children in Year 1 taught in Welsh to 26% by 2026, from 23% last year. This would be driven by opening a minimum of 60 extra Welsh-medium nursery groups by 2026, in addition to 40 opened over the last four years.
The results of the 2021 Census, the official data used to measure the number of Welsh speakers, are expected to be published by March 2023. Together with data from the Welsh Language Use Survey, the Census will provide an early measure of the Welsh Government’s progress towards a million speakers. The Work Programme will be reviewed and developed in light of the results, alongside other data.
Among the actions set out in the Work Programme are to:
Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said:
“Our vision for our language is outward-looking and inclusive and I want everyone in Wales to feel like the language belongs to us all. Cymraeg 2050 is a long-term strategy which sets out a road map and vision for creating bilingual citizens who have both the ability and opportunity to use Welsh in their everyday lives.
“By publishing this document early in this Government's term, we’re maintaining the momentum that’s grown since 2017 and we’re giving our partners a clear indication of our intentions for the next five years.
“We must plan carefully and decisively to increase the number of children and adults learning Welsh. We must create more opportunities for people to use the Welsh they have and we must ensure the right conditions exist for people to use the language together, whether in geographical or virtual communities, workplaces or social spaces.
“I look forward to working with our partners, across Wales, to give as many people as possible the opportunity to enjoy learning and using Welsh.”
The Welsh Government has also published its response to a recent report on the impact of COVID-19 on Welsh language community groups. The Welsh Government has committed to increasing its focus on community development and empowerment in language planning while working with community-based partners to increase the use of Welsh.