Alasdair Allan MSP will today (Tuesday 18 February) lead a Scottish Parliament debate on the benefits of Gaelic Medium Education (GME).
 
The Western Isles MSP, who will speak in the debate in Gaelic, will welcome Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s decision to enrol pupils entering Primary 1 into GME as the default choice.
 
The council adopted the GME policy - which was aimed at achieving “a significant rate of growth in Gaelic” in the islands - in December.
 
The debate comes after Scottish Tory Education spokesperson Liz Smith faced criticism for suggesting that educating pupils in Gaelic was a "worrying" and "troubling" move, which would put children at a “distinct disadvantage” to their peers.
 
Speaking in the debate, Alasdair Allan MSP will say: “There are wide-ranging benefits to bilingualism, from increased creativity, to heightened cognitive abilities, to greater job opportunities.
 
“Having two languages makes the third - and the fourth - easier to learn.
 
“I commend Comhairle nan Eilean Siar on taking this progressive step to secure the language within its heartland.
 
“And I would urge them to continue to go further for the language.
 
“Knowing what we know about the cognitive, cultural and social benefits of bilingualism in a regional language or mother tongue, education in the Gaelic language should be offered in every school, to every child in the Western Isles, and continue to grow elsewhere too.”