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Minister praises Irish language education teachers

11 June, 2009 - by Caitríona Ruane

Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, congratulated 36 bilingual education students at a ceremony in St Mary’s University, Belfast this morning.

The students have completed either their Bachelor of Education (BEd) or their Post- Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) at either Queen’s University or the University of Ulster. The students went on to complete a Certificate in Bi-Lingual education at St Mary’s.

Speaking at the event, the Minister said: “More and more people on the island of Ireland are learning Irish. In education it is one of the fastest growing sectors and there is an increasing demand for qualified Irish language speakers with experience and training in other subjects. To meet this demand I recently increased the intakes to Initial Teacher Education for St Mary’s, with an additional 10 places for the BEd primary Irish Education.

“In 1991, there were fewer than 400 pupils at an Irish medium school, today that number is over 3,000. Partnerships such as the one between St Mary’s and the other universities are producing high quality Irish language graduates which can inspire and motivate our young people to keep the Irish language thriving for years to come.

“I also believe that having a second language is becoming increasingly important in today’s society. Research has shown that children who have had experience of two or more languages benefit in other subjects at school.”

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