Having relatively high minimum entry requirements in core subject areas of Irish, English and Mathematics is one of the key policy levers that help ensure quality teaching and learning in primary schools. The 2011 Literacy and Numeracy Strategy and subsequent review identified the need to raise standards of achievement and included decisions to raise the entry requirements in the core subjects over time.
In October 2017, changes were announced setting higher minimum entry standards to primary programmes of initial teacher education for Leaving Certificate Maths, English and Irish, with the key change to take effect from September 2019. The changes introduced took account of advice provided by the Teaching Council, which had engaged in a consultation process around a number of matters relating to entry to initial teacher education. The entry requirement for Irish is to increase from H5 to H4.
I am aware that the introduction of the new, higher, standards has posed difficulties in timing for students applying to the Professional Master of Education (PME), the post-graduate entry route to primary teaching that you refer to. These were further impacted by other changes to the application process, which involved students applying to the four State-funded providers (DCU, Mary Immaculate College, Maynooth University and Marino Institute of Education ) having to take the Teastas Eorpach Gaeilge (TEG) test.
I would like to inform the Deputy that the Minimum Entry Requirement for Irish for PME applicants will be H5 in 2020. The requirement for H4 for PME applications will not take effect until 2021.
In summary: any applicant to the PME for 2020 will have to have both the Minimum Entry Requirement H5 for Irish and have successfully completed the Teastas Eorpach Gaeilge in order progress their application with the relevant ITE providers