Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Language Freedom Movement - Redux

Certainly valid because the teaching of Irish by the southern state is a tolerated failure. Tendentious because it leverages the number of students opting not to do the Irish exam as a support of their position to scrap compulsory Irish rather than successfully disproving the argument that its indication of demographic change in Irish schools were an increased number of students may not have been present at the national school cycle to study Irish and decide to not bother at leaving cert.
The one point where they are on strong ground is that the teaching of Irish in the south is an abysmal failure. I suspect that their decision to end compulsory Irish is more to do with their outlook on the place of Irish, its relevance and also a misplaced sense that in an agreed Ireland compulsory Irish may have no place rather than a genuine desire to increase the no. of speakers in the state.
Considering the FGers will surely be the next Government then it looks like compulsory irish is dead and buried. Compulsory Irish as a policy failed pretty much everyone I know and I would not mourn its loss - meaningless gesture that it was. However there must be a quid pro quo here. If compulsory irish in Leaving cert goes then maybe those inevitably surplus teachers should be redirected to the junior and national school cycles ( And is that what this is about - a way of dropping more teachers). Kids should be fluent in Irish by the time they leave national school. If we as a state can move closer to that then who cares about compulsory Irish in leaving cert. But will Fine Gael do that. Or will they tolerate the same poor return on Irish teaching as they have always done and let the language weaken further.
The Examiner reports:
Fine Gael is calling for the ending of Irish as a compulsory subject, claiming students would be better off using their school time to study subjects they are interested in.

New figures show 15.8% of the 55,000 students who sat the Leaving Cert last year chose not to do the Irish exam. The number choosing not to do it has increased by about 600 a year since 2006.

Education Minister Mary Coughlan said: "While Irish is an essential subject that must be studied by all students other than those who have been granted an exemption, there is no obligation on students to sit an examination in the subject."

Fine Gael's education spokesman Brian Hayes claims the numbers are not down to exemptions, or an increase in students who have recently arrived in the country, but the fact that students are "voting with their feet".

He said: "If 15% of all kids who have to do Irish don't even turn up for the exam it's an example of the crisis the language is facing in schools."

Fine Gael believes Irish should not be compulsory after Junior Cert, but rather than damaging Irish this would "liberate the language" according to Mr Hayes. "It will get people doing the language who want to do it," he said.

"If you don't have a particular ability for languages you shouldn't have to waste your time, two hours a day, five days a week on Irish when the time could be used for other subjects," he said.

Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/end-compulsory-irish-says-fg-as-14000-drop-subject-118897.html#ixzz0mx3M6BcO


  1. Its not the teaching of Irish in schools thats the problem... its the curriculum where there has been an emphasis on grammer and literature, poetry etc,to the detriment of the spoken language. The Dept of ED and the state have also been guilty of making Irish compulsory and then showing a complete lack of imagination, support and innovation in the curriculum. they have left the teachers especially at LC level with a dry dead mindnumbing subject to teach with consequent results. Irish is compulsory in the Gaeilscoileanna both inside and outside the classroom and the vast majority of kids have no problem picking it up as a living and vibrant language. Taking the FG position to its logical conclusion students who are weak at the subject shouldn't take English either.Substitute the word English for Irish in the following sentence from Hayes "If you don't have a particular ability for languages you shouldn't have to waste your time, two hours a day, five days a week on Irish when the time could be used for other subjects," he said. Try the same with Maths.

  2. Ah sure, why shopuld anybody care about Irish? Let's get rid of all languages except english. Sure isn't it the language of business anyway and as such it should be everybody's language and all others made redundant.

    The world is about money sin é!!!

    If the parties of this state were serious about the language then they would fully support the gaelscoile movement. Instead groups of individuals, who wish to see their children educated through the native language of this island, must come together and work their arses off to jump through the obstacles placed in their way by the state. They must put their kids into parish halls, beg for space from GAA clubs etc because the state won't provide any premises for years after they are running, etc etc.

    But sure real supporting the language is not what the FG proposals are about and we all know it.

  3. Red, i agree with you on the curriculum. I did french in school and the difference was in french they tried to teach me to speak it where in Irish they simply didnt care whether i could string two sentences together. Wrong focus entirely.

    Mellows, yeah that English is the language of business argument drives me mad. JJ LEE did a very good challenge against that idea in his Modern Irish history book. Looked at Denmark, Finland and used the very obvious evidence to demonstrate that a small country with its own language and beside a very large neighbour can more than thrive without having to abandon its language.

  4. FG have said that they will sell of Public Utilities to to the highest bidder. These feckers will sell their Mother to highest bidder. Why don't they come out and say what they will sell off.Every activist should raise this eveytime they canvass.