SCOTLAND could see a Gaelic university for the first time.

Scottish Greens MSP Ariane Burgess (below), spokesperson for communities, land reform, housing and rural affairs, announced plans to make Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture, a university.

The National:

Burgess, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, first started learning Gaelic after moving back to Scotland from America, saying she connected with the language when considering why she first left Scotland.

Speaking at the Scottish Greens party conference on Sunday, Burgess introduced a motion to support full degree-conferring powers to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in addition to an independent funding settlement.

The motion passed at 93%, meaning that Scottish Greens MSPs are now tasked with fulfilling it at Holyrood.

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Calls for the centre to be granted university status were first made by Professor Jim Hunter, director of the Centre for History at the University of the Highlands and Islands at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig’s annual conference last year.

The centre has been open for more than fifty years, based in Sleat, Isle of Skye, and is the only centre of higher and further education in the world that provides its courses entirely in Gaelic.

If Sabhal Mòr Ostaig were to become a university, its funding model would work similarly to that of the specialist institution, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Speaking to The National, Burgess said granting the centre university status would place it on the international stage and attract more people to the language.

“Gaelic is a really important part of what I look after as an MSP,” Burgess said.

“It’s more poetic than English, which is an international language all about market and exchange.

“Gaelic is a language about place – people always laugh about the Gaelic signposts, but I love them. You’ll see the language describes the landscape of the place it’s signposting.

“When we’re faced with a global nature and climate emergency, Gaelic has its place in reconnecting people with nature.”