Myfyrdod adeg Gŵyl Ddewi

Heddiw o bob diwrnod, dylem ddathlu mor wyrthiol ydyw ein bod ni yng Nghymru, er i ni gael ein concro yn y drydedd ganrif ar ddeg, a byw yng nghysgod un o brif ieithoedd cyffredin y byd, eto’n medru siarad ein hiaith ein hun. Wedi ein hir hanes dan reolaeth estron, mae’n rhyfeddol odiaeth fod y genedl Gymreig yn medru sefyll mewn ystafell ynghanol eu cymdogion Seisnig a chael sgwrs hollol breifat.

Dengys y cyfrifiad diweddaraf, serch hynny, na allwn fod yn hunanfodlon. Mae dirywiad unwaith yn rhagor yn dynesu’n llechwraidd. Rŷm o hyd yn uwch na lefel 1991 o 581,000 ac mae hyn yn galonogol, ond bod y cyfartaledd o siaradwyr Cymreig wedi gostwng 2% o 2001 i 562,000 (19%).

Felly, mae’r broblem y tynnwyd ein sylw ati gyda’r fath bendantrwydd gan araith “Tynged yr Iaith” Saunders Lewis, ysywaeth, wedi dychwelyd – sut gallwn ni sicrhau nad â’r iaith hynafol hon i ebargofiant yn ystod ein gwyliadwriaeth ni? Nid oes neb eisiau bod yn perthyn i genhedlaeth y bydd yn rhaid iddi gyfaddef ei bod wedi gadael i’r iaith wywo ar y winwydden.

‘Fum i erioed yn byw yng Nghymru, ac mae fy ngwybodaeth o’r Gymraeg yn deillio o ymgomio â’m teulu ac o fynd i Ysgol Gymraeg Llundain tan i mi gyrraedd chwe mlwydd oed. Fe wn i, o brofiad, ei bod yn dra anodd i ddal ati i gadw’r Gymraeg pan nad ydych yn ei defnyddio’n wastadol.

Dyna paham y mae’n rhaid i ni drawsnewid yn gyfangwbl ein holl ymagweddiad at y Gymraeg.

Nid yw gorfodi astudio’r Gymraeg hyd lefel TGAU yn ddim ond gwasanaeth gwefus, os na fydd yn datblygu i fod yn iaith yr iard chwarae, y dafarn a’r siop. Lletchwithdod cymdeithasol pur yw rhan o’r broblem.

O gwrteisi fe siaredir Saesneg gan nifer sylweddol o Gymry mewn lleoedd cyhoeddus i osgoi cau allan pobl na allant, o bosib, fedru’r Gymraeg. Fodd bynnag, er mwyn ei gwneud yn iaith fwy naturiol a phoblogaidd rhaid newid hyn. Gan fod y Cymry’n drwyadl yn y Saesneg mae’n rhy hawdd o lawer ei mabwysiadu fel ein ‘lingua franca’ ninnau hefyd, yn enwedig pan fydd cynifer o bobl Seisnig yn symud i mewn i’r wlad i gymryd mantais o brisoedd rhatach tai.

Nid wyf, o gwbl, yn gwarafun i Saeson, nad ŷnt yn medru’r Gymraeg, ddod i Gymru, ond mae’n rhaid iddynt gyfaddasu â’r Cymry ac nid i’r gwrthwyneb. Unwaith y bydd crynswth beirniadol o bobl na fedrant y Gymraeg, a hynny mewn tref fechan, fe all yn gyflym symud i gymuned i siarad Saesneg yn hytrach na’r Gymraeg.

Byddai dysgu’r Gymraeg dipyn yn llai o ymdrech i ddysgwyr pe gwnaed hi’n iaith dderbyniol yn gyhoeddus. Fe glywais, hyd yn oed, am Saeson a ymdrechodd ddysgu’r Gymraeg, yn achwyn na chânt ddigon o ymarfer, oherwydd, weithian, onid yw pobl yn sicr eich bod yn siarad Cymraeg, fe dybiant nad ydych yn gwneud hynny. Mae angen trawsnewid y cyhoedd dan y camargraff hwnnw yn gadarn yn ôl i’r Gymraeg.

Fy hoff ddyfais ddiweddar i, yw’r bathodynnau ‘Cymraeg’ y gall gweithwyr yn rhywle yng Nghymru eu harddangos i brofi eu bod yn medru’r Gymraeg. Mae hyn yn torri allan y dyfalu lletchwith.

Mae’r newid hwn ymhlŷg â bod yn amyneddgar gyda phobl nad ŷnt yn rhugl. Y duedd naturiol, wrth gwrs, i achub rhywun sy’n cloffi gyda’u Cymraeg yw symud i’r Saesneg yn gyflym, ond mae hyn, mewn gwirionedd yn wrthgynhyrchiol. Sut gallant wella eu Cymraeg fyth ?

Problem arall ynglŷn â chadw’r Gymraeg y tu allan i’r ysgol yw bod rhai rhieni’n ymddangos yn ddrwgdybus ynglŷn â’i gwerth, yn enwedig os nad ydynt yn ei siarad eu hunain. Rhan o hyn yw’r syniad hen-ffasiwn y bydd eu Saesneg yn dioddef os bydd plant yn ceisio ymdopi â iaith arall, ond nid yw hynny wedi ei seilio ar brofiad. Mae’r Saesneg mor gryf ym Mhrydain fel y tuedda plant ddatblygu’n ddwyieithwyr rhugl – gyda’r fantais o ddwy iaith, dwy gelfyddyd a dwy farchnad gwaith. Mae plant Ewrop yn siarad llawer iaith heb unrhyw drafferth. ‘Does yna’r un rheswm na ddylai hyn fod yn berthnasol i Brydain.

Mae’r Bwrdd Addysg Gymraeg yn awr wedi ei ddisodli i wneud lle i Gomisiynydd Newydd y Senedd. ‘Dyw’r Senedd ddim yn nodedig am ei hochr greadigol ac ‘rwyf i’n ofni fod ei chynllun strategol am yr iaith, sydd i’w gyhoeddi eleni, mor ddiffygiol a diddychymyg â’i pholisiau eraill. Felly ‘rwy’n gobeithio y bydd y Senedd yn ymroi i feddwl yn weithredol ac ar lefel leol. Maent yn tueddu canolbwyntio ar yr agwedd swyddogol – cael biliau nwy a ffurflenni Treth Cyngor yn y Gymraeg, ac wrth gwrs, pethau tebyg.

‘Rwyf yn gobeithio y byddant yn meddwl y tu allan i fiwrocratiaeth gan eu bod wedi ymgymryd â’r cyfrioldeb o feithrin ein hiaith. Gobeithiaf am ragor o syniadau fel y bathodynnau Cymreig oren. Mae’n syniad mor syml, ond mae’n ymwneud â hybu gweithredol, bywyd bob dydd a synnwyr cymunedol. Popeth yn wir, y dylai polisi iaith fod.

Os yw mynd o amgylch yn siarad Cymraeg yn gyhoeddus yn peri i rai pobl fod yn anghysurus, boed hi felly. Ni ddylem adael i iaith canrifoedd ddarfod i arbed nifer bach o ysbeidiau anodd. Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant Hapus – Happy St David’s Day.

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An unmatched font of knowledge

Edinburgh’s global reputation as a knowledge economy is rooted in the performance and international outlook of its four universities.

As sociologist-turned US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan recognised when asked how to create a world-class city, a strong academic offering is pivotal to any forward-looking, ambitious city. “Build a university,” he said, “and wait 200 years.” He recognised the long-term return such an investment can deliver; how a renowned academic institution can help attract the world. However, in today’s increasingly globalised higher education sector, world-class universities no longer rely on the world coming to come to them – their outlook is increasingly international.

Boasting four world-class universities, Edinburgh not only attracts and retains students from around the world, but also increasingly exports its own distinctively Scottish brand of academic excellence. In fact, 53.9% of the city’s working age population is educated to degree level.

In the most recent QS World University Rankings, the University of Edinburgh was named as the 21st best university in the world, reflecting its reputation for research and teaching. It’s a fact reflected in the latest UK Research Exercise Framework (REF), conducted in 2014, which judged 96% of its academic departments to be producing world-leading research.

Innovation engine

Measured across the UK, annual Gross Value Added (GVA) by University of Edinburgh start-ups contributes more than £164m to the UK economy. In fact, of 262 companies to emerge from the university since the 1960s, 81% remain active today, employing more than 2,700 staff globally. That performance places the University of Edinburgh ahead of institutions such as MIT in terms of the number of start-ups it generates; an innovation hothouse that underlines why one in four graduates remain in Edinburgh and why blue chip brands such as Amazon, IBM and Microsoft all have R&D facilities in the city.

One such spin out making its mark is PureLiFi, founded by Professor Harald Haas to commercialise his groundbreaking research on data transmission using the visible light spectrum. With data transfer speeds 10,000 times faster than radio waves, LiFi not only enables bandwidths of 1 Gigabit/sec but is also far more secure.

Edinburgh’s universities play a pivotal role in the local economy. Through its core operations, knowledge transfer activities and world-class research the University generated £4.9bn in GVA and 44,500 jobs globally, when accounting for international alumni.

With £1.4bn earmarked for estate development over the next 10 years, the University of Edinburgh remains the city’s largest property developer. Its extensive programme of investment includes the soon-to-open Higgs Centre for Innovation. A partnership with the UK Astronomy Technology Centre, the new centre will open next year and will supply business incubation support for potential big data and space technology applications, enabling start-ups to realise the commercial potential of applied research in subjects such as particle physics.

It’s a story of innovation that is mirrored across Edinburgh’s academic landscape. Each university has carved its own areas of academic excellence and research expertise, such as the University of Edinburgh’s renowned School of Informatics, ranked among the world’s elite institutions for Computer Science. 

The future of energy

Research conducted into the economic impact of Heriot-Watt University demonstrated that it generates £278m in annual GVA for the Scottish economy and directly supports more than 6,000 jobs.

Set in 380-acres of picturesque parkland, Heriot-Watt University incorporates the Edinburgh Research Park, the first science park of its kind in the UK and now home to more than 40 companies.

Consistently ranked in the top 25% of UK universities, Heriot-Watt University enjoys an increasingly international reputation underpinned by a strong track record in research. 82% of the institution’s research is considered world-class (REF) – a fact reflected in a record breaking year for the university, attracting £40.6m in research funding in 2015. With an expanding campus in Dubai and last year’s opening of a £35m campus in Malaysia, Heriot-Watt is now among the UK’s top five universities in terms of international presence and numbers of international students.

"In 2015, Heriot-Watt University was ranked 34th overall in the QS ‘Top 50 under 50’ world rankings." 

Its established strengths in industry-related research will be further boosted with the imminent opening of the £20m Lyell Centre. It will become the Scottish headquarters of the British Geological Survey, and research will focus on global issues such as energy supply, environmental impact and climate change. As well as providing laboratory facilities, the new centre will feature a 50,000 litre climate change research aquarium, the UK Natural Environment Research Council Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil and Gas, and the Shell Centre for Exploration Geoscience.

International appeal

An increasingly global outlook, supported by a bold international strategy, is helping to drive Edinburgh Napier University’s growth. The university now has more than 4,500 students studying its overseas programmes, through partnerships with institutions in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Sri Lanka and India.

Edinburgh Napier has been present in Hong Kong for more than 20 years and its impact grows year-on-year. Already the UK’s largest higher education provider in the territory, more than 1,500 students graduated in 2015 alone.

In terms of world-leading research, Edinburgh Napier continues to make its mark, with the REF judging 54% of its research to be either world-class or internationally excellent in 2014. The assessment singled out particular strengths in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, where it was rated the top UK modern university for research impact. Taking into account research, knowledge exchange, as well as student and staff spending, Edinburgh Napier University generates in excess of £201.9m GVA and supports 2,897 jobs in the city economy.

On the south-east side of Edinburgh, Queen Margaret University is Scotland’s first university to have an on-campus Business Gateway, highlighting the emphasis placed on business creation and innovation.

QMU moved up 49 places overall in the 2014 REF, taking it to 80th place in The Times’ rankings for research excellence in the UK. The Framework scored 58% of Queen Margaret’s research as either world-leading or internationally excellent, especially in relation to Speech and Language Sciences, where the University is ranked 2nd in the UK.

In terms of its international appeal, one in five of Queen Margaret’s students now comes from outside the EU, and it is also expanding its overseas programme offer, which already sees courses delivered in Greece, India, Nepal, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

With 820 years of collective academic excellence to export to the world, Edinburgh enjoys a truly privileged position in the evolving story of academic globalisation and the commercialisation of world-class research and innovation. If he were still around today, Senator Moynihan would no doubt agree – a world-class city indeed.

For further information www.investinedinburgh.com