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Education Minister failing to address problems associated with redeployment of Primary School teachers to gaelscoileanna

17 June, 2011 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, Seán Crowe, TD, has criticised the Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn for failing to address issues relating to the redeployment of primary schools into gaelscoileanna.

Deputy Crowe was speaking after the Minister responded to a Parliamentary Question that asked him to ensure adequate procedures be put in place to ensure teachers redeployed to gaelscoileanna have the necessary levels of Irish to teach in an Irish language speaking school.

He continued: “It is important that the redeployment of primary school teachers takes into account the specific needs of gaelscoileanna. This means there has to adequate supports in place to ensure that teachers who are redeployed into an all Irish primary school have an adequate command of the language and the training in immersion education to teach through the medium of Irish.

“Strictly speaking, the Minister is correct when he states that teacher qualifications, including those relating to Irish, are designed to equip teachers to teach in all publicly funded posts but his views do not reflect the reality of the situation. I know many teachers who would accept that their standard of Irish, regardless of the qualifications they hold, would simply not be good enough to teach in an Irish speaking school.

“The Minister talks about the importance of having ‘flexible redeployment arrangements’ which are required to ensure all surplus permanent teachers are redeployed into vacancies but not all teachers are equipped to teach in gaelscoileanna. Forcing teachers into this situation is unfair to them personally and to the children who become their responsibility.

“Minister Quinn needs to get real about this issue and stop pretending every teacher in this state is fluent enough in Irish to teach in gaelscoileanna. There needs to be the necessary support mechanisms available to support the teachers expected to deliver the school curriculum in Irish.

“The 20 Year Plan for Gaeilge carries a commitment to Irish medium Education. Minister Quinn, and government colleagues, need to prove their commitment to the 20 Year Plan and if he continues down the current path he will be failing students, parents, schools and letting our National Language down.” ENDS

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