A united call to demonstrate in support of the breton language
Saturday 13th March 2021
The parents’ association for state bilingual education (DIV YEZH BREIZH), the network of Breton-medium schools (DIWAN), the Breton teachers’ association (KELENNOMP), and several teachers’ unions convened last week to discuss the obstacles faced by the teaching of Breton in secondary education. The parents’ associations and the unions are concerned by the insufficient means allocated for bilingual education and the teaching of Breton as a non-compulsory subject in the French National Education system.
On the 2nd of March, the President of the Breton Regional Council, Loïg Chesnais-Girard, informed us of significant sticking points and disagreements with the French Education Minister which has resulted in halted future negotiations of the State-Region convention for the transmission of the languages of Brittany and its use in daily life. The enactment of this convention is crucial as it establishes the future financial priorities and initiatives for Brittany’s languages for the next 5 years. Failure to reach a compromise will have dire consequences for the future of the Breton language.
Due to France’s highly centralised educational-system, regional language teachers and resources may only be obtained in an agreement between the French State and Regional Councils. Therefore, this convention is crucial to secure and develop future Breton language education in DIWAN and state and Catholic bilingual schools. In addition to bilingual education, this convention covers a wide range of initiatives to establish the Breton language in everyday life, including media, music and culture.
Reaching an agreement with the French State is the only way to assure the people of Brittany that the necessary resources to develop the use and transmission of the Breton language will be obtained. However, despite the commitment of former French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on the 9th of February 2019 for an agreement on Breton language education and a decree to allow the administrative use of the Breton diacritical sign “ñ”, recognising the Breton name “Fañch”, no agreement has been forthcoming.
We also wish for the French National Assembly to pass the bill on regional languages presented by the Breton MP Paul Molac in early April.
The parents’ associations of bilingual education and the Breton cultural organisations are united in their request to reach and secure an ambitious convention with the state before the next regional elections in June. We ask for the cessation of the deadlocks mentioned by the President of the Breton Regional Council during negotiations with the French Ministry of Education. We are therefore calling on all those dear to the Breton language and its culture to demonstrate in Quimper on Saturday the 13th of March at 13:13.