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 courses of study for applicants for the examinations. The report is currently under consideration and decisions in regard to the recommendations contained in it will be taken in due course. A copy of the report has been published on my Department's website.
The review group earlier drafted an interim syllabus which was circulated to all schools in December 2002. The SCG examinations held in October 2003 were the first series of SCG examinations to be based on this syllabus. Copies of the interim syllabus which included a reading list of prose and poetry to be studied for the examinations are available on request from Primary Administration Section 1, Department of Education and Science, Cornamaddy, Athlone, County Westmeath. An updated language syllabus for the SCG has now also been published on the Department's website.
The review group has also drafted a handbook for the examination which is available on my Department's website. The handbook contains detailed information on the SCG and provides answers to a wide range of questions raised by candidates. It is 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. Some students in the colleges of education opt to take Irish as a subject to degree level while others opt for the professional Irish course which is equivalent to the SCG in terms of the overall standard required.