Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (284, 285)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

389 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will review the SCG exam to ensure that it is of a realistic standard, is based on Irish which is actually required in the primary classroom and that a clear syllabus is provided for those who have to undertake the exam. [1137/04]

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Willie Penrose

Question:

411 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regarding teachers who were trained outside the Republic of Ireland that apply for recognition from his Department and are then granted a five year temporary status, within which time they are required to successfully pass the SCG exams; if in this context his attention has been drawn to the difficulties and problems that such teachers encounter, in particular where no courses or classes are provided by his Department to cater for people who have no Irish language knowledge and no clear syllabus is set out for such teachers to follow when studying for exams and therefor if in view of same a clear syllabus would be developed which teachers could follow when studying for the exam and if courses could be provided which would cater for beginners learning the Irish language; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1232/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 389 and 411 together.

I established a working group to review all aspects of the syllabus and examination for the scrúdú le haghaidh cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge in 2001. The report of the working group was recently submitted to me. Issues dealt with in the report include the content and format of the examination modules, the standard of the examinations and the period of provisional recognition granted to applicants within which they are expected to pass the SCG. The report is currently under consideration and decisions in relation to the recommendations contained in it will be taken in due course.

The review group has drafted an interim syllabus. The redrafted syllabus was circulated to all schools in December 2002 and the SCG examinations held on 29, 30 and 31 October 2003 were the first series of SCG examinations to be based on this syllabus.

The review group has also drafted a handbook for the examination. The handbook will contain detailed information on the SCG and will provide answers to a wide range of questions raised by candidates. It is also planned to produce a textbook of relevant prose and poetry for future examinations.

Courses of study aimed specifically at candidates for the SCG examination are run by a number of education centres throughout the country. The level at which courses are provided is dependent on the demand. Copies of past examination papers, including tapes of the aural examinations, are available on request from primary administration section 1 of my Department in Athlone. In addition, the interim syllabus for the SCG examinations which was circulated to all schools in December, 2002 included a reading list of prose and poetry to be studied for the examinations.