Calls for continuation of Patagonia’s Welsh language program after Covid

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Flag of the Welsh colony in Patagonia, at Punta Cuevas, Port Madryn. Photo by Gastón Cuello (CC BY-SA 4.0).

There are calls for the program which sends teachers from Wales to Patagonia to teach Welsh to continue after the pandemic.

No teacher has been able to visit the Argentina region since March last year, and some fear they will not be able to do so for a long time.

Last March, the strict Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the Argentine government forced all education to move online.

Argentina is currently on the Wales Red List and the advice of the Welsh government is not to travel abroad.

Clare Vaughan, Welsh teaching coordinator at the British Council’s Welsh language program in the country, said last year had initially promised to be a ‘special year’.

She told BBC Cymru Wales: “This is the first year that each bilingual school has its own teacher and three have participated in the project with the qualifications and skills we were looking for.

“The teachers had arrived, but within the month there was confinement, so it was very difficult.

“The project is funded by the British Council, but the Welsh government is responsible for the investment.

“We see so many projects disappearing, like Erasmus for example.

“We just hope this project will continue with government support. Not just for us in Yr Wladfa, but also for the people of Wales to be proud. “

‘Virtual’

Marian Brosscho, one of the teachers from Wales who visited Patagonia last February as part of the British Council’s Welsh language program in Chubut, stayed at Trelew for a few months and continued with virtual lessons .

She told Dros Frecwast on BBC Radio Cymru: “I have worked online over the years and then came back to Wales over Christmas with the intention of going back in February.

“But of course that didn’t happen, so I worked online from Wales.

“I took the usual lessons, followed by learning Welsh lessons.

“Part of our job is doing social activities to bring people together to use the Welsh language, which is obviously a bit of a challenge.”


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