The number of adults enrolling on to university and college courses to learn Welsh has fallen by nearly a quarter (23%) since 2012.
Darren Millar AM, Welsh Conservative Shadow Education Secretary, says that the Welsh Government should wholly subsidise Welsh for Adults courses until the one million speakers by 2050 target has been met.
Mr Millar has criticised the Welsh Government for not doing enough to support institutions in their drive to recruit more Welsh learners, and accuses ministers of ignoring a market of more than 2.2m people eligible for adult courses (census).
Figures show that in 2015/16 – the latest year recorded – 22,010 people enrolled on a Welsh for Adults course at a university of college in Wales, compared to 28,720 for the 2012/12 academic year.
Bangor University saw the biggest decline in adults enrolling on to Welsh courses, seeing a four-year fall of 2,635 enrolees.
Active learners also saw a slump: in 2015/16, 14,935 were receiving tuition to learn Welsh – a 12% decline on 2012/13.
Mr Millar said: “It’s clear from this sharp drop-off that the Welsh Government is not doing enough to boost the number of adults learning Welsh, and are effectively ignoring a market of more than 2.2m people.
“Adults account for 74% of Wales’ entire population and must therefore be afforded every opportunity to learn Welsh if the Welsh Government is serious about getting to a million speakers by 2050 – it is not enough to focus solely on the school curriculum in seeking to secure an upturn in Welsh speakers.
“I therefore feel that it is a necessary step that the Welsh Government subsidises in full Welsh for Adults courses until the 2050 target is met. This should be supported by a well-thought-out nationwide recruitment campaign and better investment in those centres where courses are delivered. Labour simply cannot afford to leave adults out of the picture.”