Musical chairs

Sir Reg Empey is hoping to attract Scottish University graduates to jobs in Northern Ireland and the Republic’s Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe is hoping to attract Northern Ireland teachers to the Republic.

  • This is a welcome initiative and I hope it is a successful one. The brain drain is a marked phenomenon, but it is healthy for talented people from Northern Ireland to move throughout the UK and play a full role in the success of the country. To offset this movement we simultaneously must seek to attract talented people from the rest of the United Kingdom, to contribute to this region of their country.

  • Garibaldy

    Surely what he really means is all this people from NI who to go Scotland for university?

  • The UUP have been trying to halt the brain drain of talent and Sir Reg said Scotland was a good place to start stemming the tide as he says a large proportion of Northern Irish students are studying at universities here.

    Given that it’s the UUP – and the DUP and the grand red neck clan of unionists – which mostly contributed to the brain drain of young Northerners flying the coop and heading for Scotland and the South, then I suppose it’s incumbent on Empey to try and bring them back. What makes him think they’ll come back is another matter. A

  • Not necessarily. The initiative is aimed at all graduates. The slogan is ‘C’mon Over’ not ‘C’mon Back’.

  • I have to laugh at poor Chekov’s post – talk about labouring the point ‘about the rest of the UK’ and ‘this region of their country’. Methinks the lad doeth protest too much….

    He obviously didn’t read the bit about Empey heading to Dublin also….

    “We are not confining our efforts in Scotland we will move on to England and Dublin,” he said. “But we are just piloting it here because there is a significant density of Northern Irish students here. It is inevitable that we will get students from anywhere and some will be from Northern Ireland. It depends who is going onto the stands.”

  • “Given that it’s the UUP – and the DUP and the grand red neck clan of unionists – which mostly contributed to the brain drain of young Northerners flying the coop and heading for Scotland and the South, then I suppose it’s incumbent on Empey to try and bring them back. What makes him think they’ll come back is another matter.”

    Or maybe it had more to do with republicans and their campaigns of terrorism and destablisation. After all, most of those lost to the brain drain left to seek greater normality within other regions of the UK.

  • “He obviously didn’t read the bit about Empey heading to Dublin also.”

    Seeking talent from throughout the British Isles seems sensible enough to me. I fully recognise the inter-relatedness of the southern Irish with the rest of their counterparts in the archipelago.

  • You’re a hoot, Chekov! The rest of the British Isles – that is so funny. You should take up a career in comedy.

    And as for your witty riposte regarding republicans and terrorism, of course that had me rolling around the floor. The sheer myopia of it was hilarious. How you made that remark with a straight face remembering that the campaign of terrorism in NI was begun by the unionist UVF in 1966 and all that followed, pogroms etc, all that stuff which is designed to attract bright students to stay and pursue careers, how you said that with a straight face was worthy of an award.

  • Democratic

    “We still have an inadequate supply of teachers. Irish might be a problem for some teachers in the North but we have a five-year period where we will help them to access the working knowledge and the Irish language that will assimilate them into the school” – Batt O’Keefe
    Looks like the jobs in the South for NI Teachers are still only coming with pre-conditions – surely it is time to do away with this practice that would be completely unneccesary in the vast majority of employment cases….

  • For your information, Democratic, study of the Irish language is an essential part of the curriculum and thus it is completely necessary in the vast majority of employment cases [primary teachers].

    It is an essential part of the curriculum because of a number of reasons. You should understand one of them perfectly, given your nom de plume, the Irish language is an official language of Ireland, according to the 1937 Constitution which was endorsed by a resounding majority of the people in a democratic referendum.

  • fair_deal

    Play the ball not the man folks

  • Garibaldy

    Nothing undemocratic in expecting people to be able to have some fluency in the first language of the state. At a time when the vast majority of the world’s languages are expected to disappear over the next century, surely we should preserve all we can?

  • Democratic

    “The sheer myopia of it was hilarious. How you made that remark with a straight face remembering that the campaign of terrorism in NI was begun by the unionist UVF in 1966 and all that followed, pogroms etc, all that stuff which is designed to attract bright students to stay and pursue careers, how you said that with a straight face was worthy of an award.”

    The Provos and their associates more than played their part in establishing the conditions you describe leading to student flight Concubhar – remembering too that today most Catholic students stay in Ireland to study while most Prod undergrads are the ones that head east….

  • Garibaldy

    Maybe people who feel more of a connection with Britain are happier to move there. Although not really sure what conditions today have to do with the conditions pre-1997/1994.

  • Democratic

    Yes Concubhar/Garabaldy – Irish is the official first language of the ROI – but not NI where Mr O’Keefe wishes to attract talent – perhaps a good idea would be not to establish unnecessary obstacles before he even starts…just a thought – It does appear in the very same article also that this “essential requirement” has been waived on several occasions when staff has been in short supply – makes you wonder just how essential this requirement really is…

  • Garibaldy

    There is a flexible approach being taken on that requirement, with a number of years to get ready (and more flexible than some would like). But there is nothing wrong with the requirement in and of itself.

  • Democratic

    “There is a flexible approach being taken on that requirement, with a number of years to get ready (and more flexible than some would like). But there is nothing wrong with the requirement in and of itself”
    If you like Garabaldy I suppose – but it does make it clear exactly which community Mr O’Keefe envisages his applicants coming from….

  • It’s a simple thing Democratic. Whoever seeks those jobs will need to have the appropriate qualifications – the fact is that there’s a bit of flexibility there in terms of learning Irish so there is no obstace – as they would when applying for any other job. It’s not a question of ‘which community’ as anyone can learn Irish. If anyone wants a job teaching in the south, well anyone will have to sooner or later learn Irish. That’s where they’re going to be teaching, where Irish is a part of the curriculum.

  • There is the question as to whether Southern youngsters ahve anything to learn from Protestant teachers who cannot cut it in their own Premier League.
    The Dublin minister should discuss things with the monkey grinder (the British Minister) or at least the real monkey (The deputy) not with a discredited Provo groupie.

    I always laugh at he low life who makeup second rate teachers. There always seems to be a glut or a shortage. Can they not pick praties in Scotland or go winkle picking with illegal Chinese. Why inflight them on the inner city children, or back immigrants that are not really the port of choice for good teachers anywhere?

  • The Provos and their associates more than played their part in establishing the conditions you describe leading to student flight Concubhar

    I don’t deny that D – all I was pointing out was Chekov’s selective vision of the past.

    I do think that the failure of unionist leadership also contributed enormously to the brain drain….

  • Democratic

    You miss the point Concubhar – Mr O’keefe is approaching NI based teachers – not the other way around – he is offering posts to them to teach i’m sure various subjects – none of which would require a working knowledge of Irish Gaelic if you are honest – the very fact that the article mentions that this “essential requirement” has been waived on several previous occasions speaks to me about how necessary it really is….let’s be honest here Concubhar how many good teachers from the unionist community do you think would be interested in such a strings attached offer – unnecessary enforcement of a requirement like this will do nothing but make Irish Gaelic out to be a “cultural weapon” in Unionist eyes.

  • Éadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    Democratic,

    I would be genuinely intriged to know how you propose that teachers who have no knowledge of Irish teach the language?

    Does the right of the citizen to learn not outway the right of the teacher not to learn?

  • Democratic

    “I don’t deny that D – all I was pointing out was Chekov’s selective vision of the past.

    I do think that the failure of unionist leadership also contributed enormously to the brain drain….”

    Agreed Concubhar.

  • “I do think that the failure of unionist leadership also contributed enormously to the brain drain….”

    But not as much as republican destruction of the fabric of society here.

  • Democratic

    “I would be genuinely intriged to know how you propose that teachers who have no knowledge of Irish teach the language?”
    Well obviously they would not teach Irish Language – do ROI pupils take lessons in Geography, Maths, Physics, P.E. etc etc in Gaelic also – outside of dedicated Irish medium schools?
    Perhaps part of the problem here is lack of detail on the posts Mr O’keefe is looking to fill maybe….primary or Irish medium posts would be a different scenario I suppose.

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    “Perhaps part of the problem here is lack of detail on the posts Mr O’keefe is looking to fill maybe….primary or Irish medium posts would be a different scenario I suppose.”

    Indeed.

  • I have no interest in Irish being used as a cultural weapon – I just don’t want the involvement of unionists in the education system and their fetish about Irish being used to compromise the language’s status within education south of the border – or anywhere else for that matter. Knowledge of Irish is no burden on unionists – though I appreciate that successive generations of unionist leaders and some sections of republicanism may have contributed to its negative profile in their midst.

    I don’t know Chekov – I’m sure that it’s pretty evenly balanced. Or it could be tipping in unionism’s direction….

  • Driftwood

    Surely a working knowledge of Ulster Scots should be compulsory for all teaching jobs in Ulster and Scotland. Southern ireland can hold on to its gaelic, even if (and let’s get real) only a tiny minority of Southern Irish can actually speak it.

  • observer

    all this talk abuot having to learn Irish is absurd, Irish is dead, here and in the Republic. When was the last time the Irish prime minister spoke at any length in Irish, he doesnt even do that in the Irish parliament.

  • Democratic

    Not wishing to open another can of worms Concubhar – and I can understand your motivations as an Irish Language enthusiast with good intentions – what nobody should attempt though is to force their cultural activities onto an unreceptive audience in the year 2008 – be it the Orange Order or Ulster Scots types on Irish folk in NI or Irish language enthusiasts on Ulster-British folks in NI. Using employment as a playing card while arguably reasonable enough in the ROI among the faithful will never be tolerated in NI nor (I would hope) in a theoretical United Ireland. Much like the old swearing of allegiance to the British state oath in certain careers up here – compulsary Irish would be seen in the same vein by Unionists as the former was by Nationalists – you may not agree but I promise you that is how it is. Left to grow organically views and stances like this may change but it must happen naturally over time.
    Please do not take that as any kind of insult though as none was intended.

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    Driftwood,

    I am sure in working class areas of Glasgow a knowledge of scots is a must but somehow I dont see teachers here, the majority of whom I presume are protestant and the majority of those may be ‘ulster-scots’ going for it.

    I got the impression from speaking to protestant parents that for the most part they did not believe that Ulster-Scots exists (not my position) and I have dont know anyone who wants it taught to their kids, maybe I am wrong here but I would be very interested in finding out different.

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    observer,

    Last week, he does it all the time. The new one is a ‘Culchie’ ye see.

  • All I can say about Observer’s 3:38pm post is that he’s not been very observant of the recently elected Taoiseach’s choice of language. The first part of his first speech – and not just the ‘cúpla focal’ – as FF leader designate was in Irish. His oration at the graveside of former president, Paddy Hillery, was as Gaeilge and his first speech in the Dáil as Taoiseach was also in Irish.

    I think that it’s high time for unionists to end their campaign against the Irish language. They can call it Ulster Gaelic if they want and describe it as a British language, on a par with Welsh and Scots Gaelic – but they can’t airbrush it out of the picture. They may as well accept Irish/Ulster Gaelic and get on with it – it’s far cheaper to maintain than it is to police the Orange parades….

  • Democratic

    “They may as well accept Irish/Ulster Gaelic and get on with it – it’s far cheaper to maintain than it is to police the Orange parades….”
    Accepting it (for those you want it) is one thing Concubhar – being told you need to speak it to get Government employment to potentially work/teach in completely unrelated areas is quite another if not in the ROI it always will be in NI…..

  • willowfield

    Batt O’Keeffe – is that a typo or is it his real name?

  • “I think that it’s high time for unionists to end their campaign against the Irish language.”

    Would they still be Unionists (in the ‘Ulster’) sense?

    Surely being anti-Gaelic is a fundamental of Ulster Unionism (but certainely not of UK unionism with a small n).

    Would any unionist politican who adopted a less than beligerent stance towards Irish / Gaelic survive any election any more than a if a nationalist came out as anti-Gaelic?

    I doubt it sincerly and absolutely.

  • How many different languages are their all over Europe. People on the continent don’t perceive the next language down the road as a threat. What is wrong with us on this island ?

  • observer

    I think that it’s high time for unionists to end their campaign against the Irish language. They can call it Ulster Gaelic if they want and describe it as a British language, on a par with Welsh and Scots Gaelic – but they can’t airbrush it out of the picture ———–

    Yes we can, its going nowhere

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    Ted,

    “People on the continent don’t perceive the next language down the road as a threat”

    I disagree, people often do percieve languages as a threat or that their languages are threatened.

    France for example strives to stamp out Breton, Basque and Corsican and they are not one bit embarrassed by it.

    Language issues are not unique, in fact in Europe they will be more widespread, it is just that people here are not that knowledgable of the issues.

    For example, most people in Italy are not native speakers of Italian. This causes an issue or two, but most English speakers would be unaware of this.

  • Would any unionist politican who adopted a less than beligerent stance towards Irish / Gaelic survive any election any more than a if a nationalist came out as anti-Gaelic?

    Many southern politicians – and some northern nationalists – get elected despite expressing negativity towards the Irish language. I don’t know about unionists being required to be anti-Irish – I think that politicians have talked themselves into this mindset and that it’s going to take time for them to emerge from it – but I believe that it’s incumbent on unionist politicians to lead the way. Otherwise they may as well throw their hat at the ‘powersharing experiment’.

  • “the recently elected Taoiseach’s”

    I don’t follow southern politics closely, but I’m sure I would have heard had Cowen actually been elected. :-/

  • Democratic

    “How many different languages are their all over Europe. People on the continent don’t perceive the next language down the road as a threat. What is wrong with us on this island ?”
    The answer to that will differ depending on who or more specifically “which” side you aim the question at……
    The whole language thing is tied with culture which is in turn tied with long standing grievances and hostility – it is not the language in itself…remember the recent debacle of the statue of the former New Zealand P.M. which just had to be removed because he was a Orangeman and was thus offensive to local Nationalists and their Sinn Fein representatives?

  • fair_deal

    Ted leddy

    “How many different languages are their all over Europe. People on the continent don’t perceive the next language down the road as a threat. What is wrong with us on this island ?”

    Sorry but that statement is simply wrong. Linguistic issues/divisions/rivalries exist in a number of places in continental Europe. There is a nice place called Belgium for a start. In Spain you have significant tensions over language matters. France isn’t exactly known for generosity in the field of minority languages either.

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    “Many southern politicians – and some northern nationalists”

    Names!!! I want names I tell you.

    I only one I can think of was Paddy Harte, he was the only TD to oppose TG4, he lost his seat though I am sure there were other issues.

    In the north, well there is Martin Morgan but he is no longer active.

    I am sure there are many others but I really was refering to people open about it, pro-anglicisation and proud of it.

  • Cowen was elected Taoiseach in the same manner Brown was elected PM of Great Britain (that’s the island to the east).

  • Democratic

    “I think that politicians have talked themselves into this mindset and that it’s going to take time for them to emerge from it – but I believe that it’s incumbent on unionist politicians to lead the way. Otherwise they may as well throw their hat at the ‘powersharing experiment’.
    Don’t think you’ll get too many takers for this line of thinking…..being a lot of balls and that!

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    It would appear that I stand corrected. I was under the impression that language was a non issue in Europe post EEC/EU days. With the open borders you could drive 100 Ks through eastern and central Europe and pass 5-10 different language zones and nobody seems to mind.
    Hey thats a thought ! maybe we should get rid of the border on this island and nobody will care about language.

  • I’m on the western island in the British Isles and last time I checked Brown is my PM.

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    Ted,

    “maybe we should get rid of the border on this island and nobody will care about language”.

    There may be some thruth it that, but 1. many nationalists care alot more more about the Irish language than a united Ireland.

    2. unionist, the majority, dont and will never want a united Ireland.

    Are you American? Statos Unidos?

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    No Im a Dub and Im just being naive but sometimes I think, borders divide people, you take away the borders and you take away the divisions. Seems to have worked in Europe and their differences 1914-1991 were significantly grander than ours 1969-1998.

  • Democratic

    “Hey thats a thought ! maybe we should get rid of the border on this island and nobody will care about language”
    Good idea – then you good just tell the f*ckers they had to speak Gaelic – or they wouldn’t get a job! – where have I heard that one before…..
    What was that term again oh yes “cultural weapon”

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    Ted,

    Apologies!!

  • USA

    Here in the States there is a law that qualified teachers from outside the jurisdiction (Canadians etc who have a green card) have 6 years to become US citizens otherwise they lose their teaching certification.
    Consequently I feel a 5 year “window” to obtain a working knowledge of Gaelic is not unreasonalbe of the language requirement is to be maintained. Here in the US most of the teachers in any school district are at elementary level (primary) where Math, Spelling Reading etc is covered by one teacher. I would suspect that in the ROI Gaelic is also offered making some knowledge of the language necessary for most teachers. Folks like “Democratic” seem to think every teacher is specialized in a given subject. This is only true at High School (Grammar/Secondary) level.

  • Democratic

    “Folks like “Democratic” seem to think every teacher is specialized in a given subject. This is only true at High School (Grammar/Secondary) level.”
    Yeah “USA” I did say this too in a past post – perhaps you read it – or perhaps not…..where I said clarification on the roles needing filled would help…..on the rest of your post I think much like Concubhar you have missed the fact and ROI representative is approaching NI based teachers not the other way around……

  • The Republic can use whatever criteria they like to hire their teachers, I’ll not lose any sleep over it. Maybe they don’t need that many extra teachers from NI so they think they can attract all they need from the small percentage of the population with a working knowledge of Gaelic added to the probably considerably larger number who would happily learn it in the time frame given (or not bother and quit after that time?)

    Luckily for them every action taken doesn’t seem to require an equality impact assessment.

  • observer

    “Hey thats a thought ! maybe we should get rid of the border on this island and nobody will care about language” —

    If Ireland wants to rejoin the UK, then I think we should consider that

  • bart simpson

    Batt O’Keeffe.

    O’Keeffe is a bogstandard Irish name. 80 of them in the Springfield phone directory.

    Batt is short for Bartholomew.

    I wish my folks called me Batt, for rhyming reasons.

    Millhouse, wish he was called Mitthouse.

  • Reader

    Ted Leddy: maybe we should get rid of the border on this island and nobody will care about language.
    That’s the border between the UK and the RoI you’re talking about, of course?

  • I think much like Concubhar you have missed the fact and ROI representative is approaching NI based teachers not the other way around……

    Democratic: You ignore the oversupply of teachers in the north, which is arising as a result of the closure of smaller schools. I think that you have to accept that there’s a basic Irish language requirement in the southern education system which has to be met by all teachers, no matter where they come from.

    As for your ‘balls’ comment. Perhaps I didn’t make myself as clear as I would have wished; I am tired and heart sore of hearing attacks by unionist politicians on the Irish language and Irishness in general. They are sharing power with two nationalist parties and if they can’t show the minimum of respect towards the electorate which elected their partners in government, I suggest they should throw their hat at it as this is going nowhere. It will eventually reach nowhere, sooner I fear rather than later. I think they should turn around and say, if they have a phobia about Irishness, which is what it appears to be, that Irish/Ulster Gaelic is as British a language as Scots Gaelic and Welsh and that its part of their heritage too. They are in the dominant position and should show some generosity on the subject. If not generosity, some political nous and stop allowing the rednecks dictate policy.

  • I’m on the western island in the British Isles and last time I checked Brown is my PM.

    Posted by Chekov on May 29, 2008 @ 04:53 PM

    Poor Chekov. You can’t even vote for Brown or any of his colleagues so how could you think that he’s your PM? Voters in Scotland and Wales can vote for Brown or Cameron and that choice is not available in NI. However Fianna Fáil are talking about organising in the north and my bet is that they’ll be standing here before Labour…..

  • Democratic

    “I think that you have to accept that there’s a basic Irish language requirement in the southern education system which has to be met by all teachers, no matter where they come from.”
    I do accept that it is there Concubhar – what I do not accept is its neccesity in all areas – plus this requirement has been dropped in the past when expedient – look we are going around in circles here and I have absolutely no wish to repeat my views again and again making exactly the same point – but perhaps as Beano said it is of no Unionist concern what is required to work as a teacher in the ROI – and lets face it as I said before good teachers from a Unionist background will have absolutely no interest in Mr O’Keefe’s conditioned offer – you cannot expect any other if you are honest with yourself – or maybe that was an intention all along – I would hope not though.
    But just don’t expect such legislation to ever find a home in Northern Ireland or in any “former” Northern Ireland – it would be simply unacceptable outside of Irish medium schools and would open a can of worms right round the playing field…..

  • Democratic

    As for the second part of your post Concubhar – I personally fully back anyone to pursue their Irish Language rights pursuits so long as it does not infringe in any meaningful way on those who do share Irish cultural tendencies – obviously the issue of compulsary Irish in employment or education would meet that criteria though…..

  • Democratic

    Should read “do NOT share” – apologies.

  • jaffa

    “I think they should turn around and say, if they have a phobia about Irishness, which is what it appears to be, that Irish/Ulster Gaelic is as British a language as Scots Gaelic and Welsh and that its part of their heritage too.”

    I had a friend at college who was the most enthusiastic Thatcherite and a fluent Welsh speaker.

    Has anyone a link to some sort of schematic that offers a sense of the blending in of the Gealic dialects across Scotland and Ireland?

    As a non-speaker I struggle a bit with the idea that the north channel would have represented a barrier between the development of dialects on the Scottish and Irish sides. As seaways were once more easily crossed than land it seems more intuitive that the “Irish” spoken along the Antrim and North Down coasts would be much more strongly related to the Gallic of the Islands than it would to the dialects of the interior and south. I’m nore inclinded to believe that the languages blend in like the Scandinavia’s, perhaps sharing words but using them differently (the time of breakfast seems particularly confusing in the Nordics).

    The great majority of prods in Ulster live within a few miles of the sealanes back to Scotland. Get an A4 map of Ireland and a marker and draw a think line from the Waterside along the coast to Downpatrick, going up the navigable bit of the Bann en route. You’ll easily take in Coleraine, Larne, Carrick, Newtownabbey, Belfast, Holywood, Bangor, Donaghadee, Ards, Dundonald, Comber Killyleagh…most of prod land.

    Are the connections between Island and N.Ireland Gaelic sufficient for prod students to claim they’re learning the language of their ancestors as much as the language of the dispossessed and grumpy natives? Thinking of Gaelic revival as a joint Scots/Irish project might help.

    PS. Not all prod settlers were of the anglified lowland variety – plenty of Gallic speakers with Macs in their names.

    PPS. re. the brain drain; prods have always send their children to Scottish universities. That’s how we imported eighteenth century secular republicanism into Ulster. Nothing wrong with maintaining that tradition provided they’ve something to come home for.

  • eranu

    just read the article on regs adventures and it seems like a good proactive step. we hear lots of talk about building the economy and jobs etc from alot of people, but whos actually doing anything about it? im sure the people who see this as “‘Cheek’ of Stormont minister trying to lure Scottish graduates” would love a scottish minister to go off to other regions and do something to attract people to scotland.

  • Seimi

    jaffa,
    the two languages, Irish Gaelic and Scottish Gaelic, are basically the same. An Irish Gaelic speaker will understand most of what is being said to him in Scottish Gaelic, and vice versa. The languages changed in pronunciation because of the differing influences on each – Scottish Gaelic (and indeed Scots, and ultimately, Ulster Scots) was more heavily influenced by the Scandanavian countries, which used the Scottish isles as outposts on their journeys. The differences in spelling came about mainly because of a failure to standardise the dialects at an early enough stage.
    As for you suggestion that ‘Prods’ be encouraged to learn the language of their ancestors, I heartily agree. It IS the language of their ancestors, and never belonged to any one side in a religous divide. Which Gaelic they learn, Irish or Scottish, does not matter. Learning a language is a fulfilling, enriching thing, and I believe it should be part of the school curriculum, from nursery onwards.

  • Driftwood

    Learning a language is a fulfilling, enriching thing, and I believe it should be part of the school curriculum, from nursery onwards.

    It was taught in my school. English.
    If people want to learn a foreign language like French, Irish, Spanish etc then that should be a choice at secondary schools.

  • Democratic

    Encouragement is fine Seimi and I am sure such an approach could bear fruit – but it should never be forced or made compulsary one way or another – a one way ticket to conflict surely?

  • Low quality Protestant teachers will lower the standard in the South and kill the Golden Egg Celtic Tiger that pays for diversity.

    One other linguistic thing, chappies: In the self styled UK, many/most students don’t take English (Cromwell’s language) at A level. Maybe the Prots should be made do an English test too.
    English is compulsory in the Leaving Cert.

  • Seimi

    Driftwood – Ok, learning a SECOND language should be on the curriculum. And, Irish ISN’T a foreign language, unless you live outside of Ireland. Perhaps you live in England? Or did you learn English as a second language?

    Do you consider everything you were taught at school as being ‘forced’ upon you Democratic? The teaching of a language, any language, at school should be encouraged as a positive thing. How could it be anything else? I agree with you that using the wrong methods, making it appear that you are forced to do something, could and in all probability, would cause conflict. If however it can be packaged as part of a shared culture and history, rather than a divisive, them and us, pseudo-religous thing, it could work?

    Dave – why do you assume that ANY of the teachers who MIGHT decide to work in the south would be ‘low quality’?

  • Éireannach Saolta

    From my experience living in england the UK education system turns out school leavers that can barely count. bar the immigranbt populations who know much of their mother tongue I have only ever met a handfull of English people that can speak another language, most dont even have the basic knowledge of a language other than english. Basic knowledge of history and geography is apalling overall , the history of scotland is particularly poorly known by the scottish people themselves. Maybe a more rounded education might be of benefit to these teachers going south. It might give them a bit of an eye opener and a job is also handy considering they’d be overqualified for the badly paid jobs theyd be forced to take in the North

  • Driftwood

    Seimi
    Many schools now insist on learning a second language. However, do you not think it would be more advantageous for pupils to learn another (foreign) European language,instead of Irish? GCSE Irish has a relatively small uptake, and GCE Irish even less so. Anyone who really wants to learn it could go to night school. Don’t forget, it’s English taxpayers that are paying for this to be taught.

  • Seimi

    Driftwood, do you see no personal or cultural advantage to learning the indigenous language of this country?
    Languages such as French, Spanish etc. are not taught until post-primary level. What I am suggesting is that children are taught their own indigenous language first, starting at a much younger age. This makes learning other languages at a later stage much, much easier. What is your objection to the Irish language? Is it a purely financial one? Why should a child attend a night class to learn Irish?

  • Driftwood

    Surely English is the indigenous language, not just of the UK (and RoI)but USA and many other countries. Do you think all North Americans should learn Cherokee? Or all Australians aboriginal. That is the natural outcome of your argument.

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    “GCSE Irish has a relatively small uptake”

    Attempting to find a link but that is nonsence, even given the fact that Irish is not taught in State Schools it is still up there, I will find out.

  • Driftwood

    Eaddhainn, It’s approximately 2,500 for GCSE and around 1000 for GCE.

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    Driftwood,

    1. What is your source.

    2. What are the stats for French.

  • Driftwood

    Source is CCEA
    I’ll try and post a link to the stats, actually that is more candidates than I initially thought.
    Would it be compulsory in some Catholic schools?

  • Democratic

    “I agree with you that using the wrong methods, making it appear that you are forced to do something, could and in all probability, would cause conflict. If however it can be packaged as part of a shared culture and history, rather than a divisive, them and us, pseudo-religous thing, it could work?”
    It possibly could Seimi – as long as it wasn’t compulsary – if it was made so – it really wouldn’t matter what way it was re-packaged I’m afraid….also I do tend to switch off when the old “indigenous” card is played…you must understand that for Unionists in Northern Ireland – their English language is indigenous or as close to it as is perfectly acceptable for them.

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    “Would it be compulsory in some Catholic schools?”

    Not to GCSE, no.

  • Driftwood

    French 3,500
    Irish 2,500
    Spanish 1, 500

    German much smaller

    So French is the biggest (with CCEA at least) and Irish 2nd at GCSE.
    English, Maths etc would be over 10,000
    Will post link when I can access

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    Driftwood,

    Given that all schools do French and that only 40% of pupils have any oppurtunity to learn Irish it is not bad to my mind.

    It should also be remembered that Gaelscoil pupils do an additional GCSE known as Gaeilge which is the Irish equivalent of GCSE English.

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    I would put forward the idea that State school pupils should have the OPTION of doing some sort of ‘Gaelic Studies’ GCSE, with only small amounts of spoken Irish / Scottish Gaelic, but focusing in on Irish and Scottish Highland history from a Gaelic perspective, Place-Names, Surnames etc.

    I am sure the DUP would would resist such a thing in apocoliptic terms but I for one would see absolutely no threat to anyone and it could well help to bring down some mental barriers.

  • Driftwood

    Here is the link, takes a bit of digging, but you should find the info.

    http://www.ccea.org.uk/statistics/

    Don’t think you’ll bet much uptake for that idea in an already overcrowded exam market Edbhainn

  • Seimi

    Rather than being an ‘indigenous’ language in the US, English is the pre-dominant language. Spanish is also widely spoken, as well as a smattering of other languages. There is a figure given on another thread somewhere, for Irish speakers in the US, but I can’t remember where. That is not to say that any of those languages are indigenous. They’re not. The indigenous language (or languages) would be the one(s) spoken by the indigenous people(s). I understand and agree that a large number of people in the north would regard English as their indigenous language, however, it was brought here by another people, and the original, indigenous language was systematically done away with, almost to the point of extinction. The fact that it survived, and indeed, is growing again, is surely one to be celebrated, rather than treated with suspicion, derision and out and out hostility.

    ‘I would put forward the idea that State school pupils should have the OPTION of doing some sort of ‘Gaelic Studies’ GCSE, with only small amounts of spoken Irish / Scottish Gaelic, but focusing in on Irish and Scottish Highland history from a Gaelic perspective, Place-Names, Surnames etc.’

    I think this is an excellent idea. I really can’t see how anyone could object to a subject such as this. To know your own background, where your people come from, what they achieved, gives you such a grounding. It gives you a sense of who and what you are. That has to be good.

  • Seimi

    Sorry, the first line of my post was my opinion, based on my studies on the subject, rather than an established fact. Apologies for any misunderstanding.

  • Driftwood

    I really can’t see how anyone could object to a subject such as this. To know your own background, where your people come from, what they achieved, gives you such a grounding. It gives you a sense of who and what you are.

    This subject already exists.

    It’s called History

  • Seimi

    The subject already exists? History??? Now you’re just making things up. Show me the module or subject that deals with this in state schools.

  • Driftwood

    Not sure what you mean. History is the study of the past. How we came to be where we are now. Modern History is basically the past few hundred years. And at O and A level History, as well as university, the purpose of History was pretty much to study what you have outlined, both here in UK/Ireland and further afield.
    Noone tried to stifle the Irish language. It fell in to disuse. As did Manx I believe. Now it is being sort of revived. But it will never be anything more than a token subject.
    English, or more probably US English, is the language of choice for pretty much everyone in the UK and Ireland. Including this forum I believe.

  • Eadbhainn Mac a’ Futaire

    “Noone tried to stifle the Irish language”

    Perhaps a Gaelic studies course would help to stifle these clearly dearly held but utterly false beliefs.

    Unionists should be proud of their history, not try and deny it, no?

  • Dewi

    “Noone tried to stifle the Irish language”

    Driftwood – please read this:

    Quite balanced

    Don’t you agree that there was some systematic suppression ???