Friday, July 8, 2011

Epoch making recognition for Gaeltacht schools

The Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, launched The National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy in Dublin today.  For the first time in the history iof the State, the Strategy formally recognises that Gaeltacht schools have specific requirements in relation to the national curriculum and that native Irish speakers and learners of Irish who attend Gaelscolieanna and Gaeltacht schools have distinct linguistic needs.   The full report is available on the Department of Education website in pdf format!

From the Irish language perspective, here are two of the most important passages:

Page12  This literacy and numeracy  strategy recognises that the learners in Irish-medium schools and settings have very varied learning needs and that they need to develop literacy skills in both Irish (as their first language or as the first language of the school) and in English.

page 50
  * Students in Irish-medium schools who learn through Irish, including pupils whose home language is Irish, have specific literacy needs that are not fully addressed in the current primary(and secondary p52) school curriculum. We need to address these specific needs by ensuring that the Irish L1* curriculum (for Irish-medium schools) provides for the development of literacy skills in a manner comparable to that provided for in the English curriculum, including the development of children's cognitive and higher-order thinking skills.

*Irish as L1 refers to the teaching of Irish as a first language or in Irish-medium schools. Irish as L2 refers to the teaching of Irish as a second language, i.e. the teaching of Irish in schools where the main language of instruction is English.

Many thanks to the various Irish language organisations who made representations to the Department of Education during the consultation process, including amongst others COGG,  Gaelscoileanna, Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta, An Foras Patrúnachta and  Eagraíocht na Scoileanna Gaeltachta .

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