Conradh na Gaeilge say that the measures announced by the Minister of Education and Science do not properly address the shortcomings in relation to the teaching and the learning of Irish in our schools. Whilst we welcome the added recognition afforded to the oral Irish exam, any reform must embrace a holistic methodology.
Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh, President of Conradh na Gaeilge said: "I am very disappointed that the Minister of Education and Science is not addressing this problem in an integrated manner. She is focusing on one level of the problem and is ignoring in effect the other levels. The learning and the teaching of Irish must be developed at the three levels in a holistic manner, i.e. in the primary schools, at second level and in the teacher training colleges."
Conradh na Gaeilge recommends that all trainee primary school teachers should be taught through Irish in an all-Irish environment, learning through and about immersion education, for the equivalent of one academic year of their training course.
The teaching and the learning of Irish at primary level should be developed by implementing the Department of Education's own policy, i.e. that one subject, along with Irish, should be taught through Irish to all primary school pupils (initially on a pilot basis with the necessary support and training to be provided). Physical education, drama, or art could be the extra subject chosen to encourage the students to bring the language to life in the classroom.
In relation to second level we agree that an extra emphasis should be put placed on oral Irish. This should be done preferably by developing two syllabi for Irish at second level with two separate examination papers for the Leaving Certificate and the Junior Certificate ("Irish Language" teaching and assessing the skills of understanding, speaking, reading and writing using the Common European Framework as reference to be taken by al students: and "Irish Literature" to be taken by higher level students only).
Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh
President, Conradh na Gaeilge.
01 4757401 / 087 2368364
Julian de Spáinn
General Secretary, Conradh na Gaeilge.
01 4757401 / 086 8142757