I understand that the Deputy is referring to the Aptitude Test or Adaption Period that teachers who completed an Initial Teacher Education programme outside the State must complete in order to fulfil the condition of the Irish Language Requirement in order to register as a Primary teacher.
The Teaching Council is the body with statutory responsibility for establishing and maintaining standards in the teaching profession in this State. It is also the designated competent authority for the recognition and assessment of qualifications and registration of teachers at Primary and Post Primary level.
Teachers who completed a primary initial teacher education programme outside of the State are registered with the Teaching Council under Regulation 2/ Route 1 primary with the condition of Irish Language Requirement (ILR).
In order to satisfy the ILR condition, a teacher must provide evidence of having completed an Aptitude Test (SCG – An Scrúdú le hAghaidh Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge) or an Adaptation Period (OCG – Oiriúnú le hAghaidh Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge) which includes attendance at a recognised Gaeltacht course. These programmes are run by Marino Institute of Education (MIE). The Teaching Council’s role is to evaluate the programmes which includes assessing the suitability of an online alternative to the Gaeltacht Placement element of the programme.
In some instances a registered teacher who had applied to undertake the Irish Language Requirement (ILR) with MIE in the 2019/20 academic year with the expectation of completing the ILR within the 2019/20 academic year, may now be unable, due to Covid-19 restrictions, to complete the required Gaeltacht period within the required timeframe.
The Teaching Council’s position is that in instances where this impacts the expiry date of a teacher’s registration with conditions, such teachers should apply to the Teaching Council for an extension to the period of time to allow them to fulfil the ILR condition. The Council has confirmed that extensions will be granted by the Council on the understanding that the relevant teachers will fulfil the outstanding Gaeltacht period within this extended timeframe.