Monday, December 12, 2011

90% of Gaeltacht schools to close!

Schools with one to four teachers with less than 86 pupils are to be reviewed, according to new guidelines from the Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn. These schools are being asked to look at their amalgamation options also.

Senator Fidelma Healy Eames is asking questions of the Education Minister: Some small rural schools are being put in immediate jeopardy by staffing cuts (Irish Times 26/1/2011)
There is little if any real indication of any consideration, still less consultation on the part of government of the importance that these small schools in the community or of the standard of education and learning the impart.

"This could mean that up to 90% of Gaeltacht schools could be amalgamated or closed. In the Gaeltacht areas that is 26 schools from 41 in Galway, 21 out of 24 in Mayo, in Donegal 31 from 42, in Waterford 2 from 3, 13 out of 14 in Kerry and three out of six in Cork. That is 96 0ut of 110 Gaeltacht schools in total", according to Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh.

School closed by Government: "Parents are devastated!"
An example of this is the 100 year old school near Loch an Iubhair in the Donegal Gaeltacht despite the fact that the Junior Minister for the Gaeltacht, Dinny McGinley in attending the celebrations at the end of October could see no reason why the school coild not continues its good work for another 100 years. An Irish Times report quotes one of the parents as saying “He was full of praise for the school and spoke very favourably about its ethos and said he hoped it will remain open for another 100 years. And now we are told by the Department of Education that we are to close at the end of this school year.” To add insult to injury the principal of this Gaeltacht school was informed by the Department by letter in English. The school principal according to a local newspaper said: "Parents are devastated! This is a great small school and our ambition was to grow it rather than to close it." This particular school had the eminent writer Seamus Ó Grianna (Máire).

These decisions will alter the delivery of primary education in rural Ireland completely it look as if only facile and possibly pseudo economic criteria are being used rather than the the possible implications this will have on pupils, teachers, the community and on societal and true economic factors.

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