Thursday, 5 February 2004

Ceisteanna (98)

Jim O'Keeffe

Ceist:

98 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason teachers with Montessori degrees are not permitted to sit the Irish exam, and as a consequence continue to be regarded as unqualified and untrained in respect of any service in a post in a mainstream primary class; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3555/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Education and Science)

Under the terms of Circular 25/00, Montessori teachers with specified qualifications are given recognition to teach in certain settings only. These include resource teaching posts, special classes and special schools where there is no requirement to teach Irish. Access to and remuneration for these posts is on a qualified teacher basis.

The Irish examination, SCG, is designed for teachers trained outside the state whose primary teaching qualifications are acceptable for recognition purposes but who do not possess the necessary qualification to teach Irish and/or teach through Irish to the required standard.

It is not as a consequence of lacking a qualification to teach Irish that Montessori teachers are not recognised to teach in mainstream classes. It is a matter of the content and scope of their undergraduate course. The content of the courses leading to the award of the Montessori qualifications specified in the circular have not, to date, been considered as equivalent to course content delivered in the five colleges of education. However, a comparative study on course content in one of the specified Montessori courses and that delivered in the five colleges of education has now been completed. The report is currently being considered by my Department and any requirement for change in the recognition process for Montessori teachers will be determined in the course of this consideration.