Did formal education really damage the Gaelic language?

THIS year marks the 140th anniversary of the passing of the Education (Scotland) Act 1872 which introduced compulsory education for all across Scotland.

The new Act ignored the native Gaelic language and culture of the Highlands and Islands but what was the real impact of this on the language and communities of the islands?

What has been done since to try and remedy any damage done, and how successful has this been?

These are just some of the questions being discussed at a one-day conference ‘The Education (Scotland) Act 1872 – A Watershed for the Gaelic Language’ hosted by Tasglann nan Eilean Siar (Hebridean Archives) in Sir E Scott School, November 3rd.

The event will run from 10am to 3pm (not 10.30am to 3.30pm as previously advertised) and speakers addressing the conference include UHI’s Elizabeth Ritchie, who will talk about protestant charities teaching in Catholic areas prior to 1872, and Prof Matthew Maciver who will explore the impact of the new Act.

The important work undertaken by community heritage groups to document and learn about life in post 1872 schools will also feature in what looks set to be a very interesting day.

The conference – which is supported by Bord na Gaidhlig and Tasglann nan Eilean Sair- will be presented in both Gaelic and English with simultaneous translation.

Attendance costs £10, including a light lunch, and booking forms are available by emailing enquiries@tasglann.org.uk, by visiting www.tasglann.org.uk, or by phoning 01851 822 750.