Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (79)

Patrick O'Donovan


74 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills in view of the stated ambition to develop new markets for Irish exporters in the BRIC countries, if he will advise on the number of secondary schools that offer Portuguese, Russian and Chinese to leaving certificate level; the number of third level institutes that offer these languages; the number of students currently taking courses in each one; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4222/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

There are a range of foreign languages available on the curriculum in schools -- French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese and Arabic. Chinese and Portuguese are not on the curriculum. A Post Primary Languages Initiative has been in place since 2000 with the objective of diversifying language provision in schools, focusing particularly on Spanish, Italian, Japanese and Russian. 81% of second level pupils study three languages, Irish, English and a continental language, to completion of upper second level, and over 70% of schools offer two foreign languages or more. Russian is offered as a curricular language as part of the Post-Primary languages initiative. It is offered in 20 schools and 625 students are currently studying Russian. The State Examinations Commission also provides examinations in a range of "non-curricular EU languages", including Portuguese.

Students at third level have access to a wide range of foreign language courses that can be taken as core subjects or in combination with a range of other disciplines. Details of Portuguese, Russian and Chinese language programmes which are offered in the third level institutions are available on the Qualifax website There are no statistics available to my Department regarding the numbers of students studying those languages in third level institutions.