17 Jun 2019, 19.16

Irish Language Committee to discuss Education Policy for schools in Gaeltacht areas

The Joint Committee on the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands will meet on Tuesday when it hears from witnesses on the topic of Education Policy for schools in Gaeltacht areas.

Progress to date will be assessed with officials from the Department of Education and Skills and An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta due before the committee.

The Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017 – 2022 as published by the Department of Education and Skills in December 2016 sought to maintain and secure the vitality of Gaeltacht areas as the home of Irish-speaking communities.

Speaking in advance of the meeting, Committee Chair, Catherine Connolly TD, said, “The Committee welcomes the opportunity to engage on this topic. Primary and post-primary schools face stark challenges in the Gaeltacht, students come from homes with very varied levels of Irish-language skill. There is an increasing use of English in Gaeltacht communities and children raised through Irish are in the minority in Gaeltacht schools.”

The socio-linguistic context of Gaeltacht schools is complex and differs widely depending on the status of the language within the local community, social and demographic factors and the proportion of people who speak Irish on a daily basis.

While the majority of schools in the Gaeltacht provide Irish-medium education, a considerable number do not provide education wholly through the medium of Irish.

Yet, the Education Act, 1998, highlights the responsibilities of schools in Gaeltacht areas to contribute to the maintenance of Irish as the primary community language.

For these reasons, a specific Policy on Gaeltacht Education, containing targeted measures to improve Irish-medium educational provision, was required.  Itrecognises the uniqueness of the Gaeltacht as an area of significant linguistic, cultural and economic importance.

The meeting will start at 4pm in Committee Room 4, Leinster House.

Committee proceedings can be viewed live here

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