Shane Coleman has a scathing piece in yesterday’s Sunday Independent on the development of a new education policy for the Gaeltacht areas, which insists that schools must provide “a minimum of 2.5 hours per week for English as Language 2, as set out in the Primary School Curriculum, cannot be delayed beyond the start of the second term in Junior Infants.” This in the face of evidence from NUI Maynooth that children who are educated in their early years in Irish, perform better in English than children educated bilingually from an early age. The Minister’s biggest crime, he argues, is in listening to officials and ignoring:
Hanafin admits that it was her senior officials and members of the inspectorate who advised her on this matter. She also failed to produce any research to back up this policy change. Neither was there any mention of it in Fianna Fail’s manifesto or in the Programme for Government. In short, a minority of unelected, unaccountable officials have hijacked a democracy.
It has to be said she would not be the first Minister in these islands who set aside evidence for her own official’s preferences.