Ruane to “engage in debate” on teaching Irish

The education minister Catriona Ruane was at the Irish Medium Education Convention on Monday and announced that she was ?currently considering a review of Irish medium education in the North. This review will play an important part in ensuring that Irish medium education is fully and appropriately supported as an integral part of the education system in all schools; primary, post-primary, English and Irish medium. I will be making the recommendations of the report public in the future and look forward to using it as the starting point for an engaging debate on this important issue.” Jim Allister has already “engaged in debate” on this issue. I suspect the other unionist parties may well have a relatively similar view of the “debate.”

  • RG Cuan

    Predictable response from Mr Allister.

    You’d think having Irish opened to the wider community would be want certain Unionist politicians want – they are, after all, always claiming that the language is being ‘politicised’ by the other side. Would this not de-politicise it?

    Anyway, it’s only healthy to debate the issue. I’m sure the system here won’t go as far as in Wales where all school pupils have to study the indigenous language but at least giving all pupils the option to learn Irish Gaelic would be a step towards normalisation and would help break down another barrier in our society.

  • Cuairteoir

    Allister quotes that GCSE and A Level Irish numbers have fallen this year. That is true, as it is true for all languages as they are now only optional at Key Stage 4.

    In addition, Mr TUV does not mention that these figures are only for English medium schools. The numbers taking these exams in Gaelscoileanna are increasing.

  • Dec

    Judging by the topics on his ‘Press Releases and Speeches’ webpage, Jim Allister should just change his name to Alf Garnett and be done with it.

  • The key difference between Wales and Northern Ireland is that Wales has a much more extensive equivalent of the Gaelteacht. Last I heard, most of the households in northern Ireland that are not English speaking use Cantonese or Mandarin.

    Another significant difference is that the Welsh language seems happily free from the less helpful kind of activism that makes Irish seem such a hostile thing to many Unionists.

  • IJP

    I trust she will be putting similar efforts into the integrated sector, and indeed the general objective of mixed/shared education?

  • slug

    She really doesn’t care about integrated education. She rarely mentions it, except when closing integrated schools.

  • Making Irish available as a subject in state schools and ending the compulsion to study it in Catholic schools would seem quite sensible to me.

  • ggn

    “Another significant difference is that the Welsh language seems happily free from the less helpful kind of activism that makes Irish seem such a hostile thing to many Unionists.”

    I am forced to the conclusion that you dont know much about the language struggle in Wales! – makes Irish language activists in Ireland look like lambs, hundreds have done real jail time in Wales, unlike the handful in Ireland!

    “Mr TUV does not mention that these figures are only for English medium schools. The numbers taking these exams in Gaelscoileanna are increasing.”

    Good point, neither is the fact that the GSCE done by IME students is simply called ‘Gaeilge’ and is more akin to an A-Level than say GCSE French.

    Fair play to Caitriona, especially for getting Irish into the primary schools.

  • UFB

    Jimbo obviously studied law at the same school as the culturally monolithic Republic Trimble did.

  • Brian Walker

    Educationally, there can be no objection, politically it’s inept and hackles-raising and gets the equivalent reply from Allister,who can’t wait to get in first with his wretched reply.
    It’s depressing and oh so predictable that education is being used as a political football. Until some consensus can be reached about how to begin talking about such matters before they even think about implementing them, there will be no advance.The place for a discussion on the future of Irish is the Assembly committee. Here’s an opportunity for the centre parties to come up with a strategy. Where are they, the laager-louts?

  • Glencoppagagh

    There is an irony here in that Irish in RC secondary schools tends to be treated like a foreign language so that pupils are usually learning only one other language alongside Irish at the pre-GCSE stage.
    And this in spite of the fact that few of them offer Latin any more, much to be regretted in my opinion.
    In controlled grammar schools pupils are normally learning two foreign languages simultaneously.

  • Dewi

    “…..Wales has a much more extensive equivalent of the Gaelteacht.”

    Under pressure there actually. Only 17 communities left in the world with > 80% speakers. Mass in-migration very difficult to cope with. (20% of Welsh Population born in England. As The Encyclopaedia of Wales puts it, Wales’s largest ethnic minority.)

    Growth is in urban Southern Wales. The following is interesting:

    Patterns of Language Change

    On the topic maybe it was not politically wise to make this statement in Dublin – although the forum seemed to be appropriate. Would any Unioinist really object to an option to take Irish classes in school?

  • Dewi

    I was looking for a Map of Irish Language distribution (failed so far) and came across the below. Brilliant site.

    http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/

  • ggn

    People should be reminded that the system at GCSE level effectively discrimates againist Irish. I.e Irish cannot be studied by itself, it can only be studied after French, Spanish etc.

    Therefore whilst one can do Spanish by itself, one cannot do Irish by itself.

    It should be pointed out that some RC schools ignore this rule.

    I do not see how anyone would have an objection to the OPTION of children in State Schools learning Irihs or perhaps a Gaelic Studies GCSE where they can study Gaelic surnamesm, History and Place-names, subject few will not be touched by in some way.

    Nothing to be frightened off. IMHO.

  • ggn

    108 did the Gaeilge exam (by my reading anyway)
    2304 did Irish GCSE

    2412 Overall then …

    Compared to French (2876), It isnt that bad really and the marks seem very good.

    Considering only around 40% of GCSE pupils have any access to Irish the outlook improves further.

    That said falling numbers are a concern, though they can be attributed directly to the growth of IME and its sucking up of staff. That said the Irish Language movements seem almost exclusively aimed at IME – ‘don put all your eggs in one basket’ comes to mind. Someone needs to take responsibity for promoting Irish as a subject and not leave it to take care of itself.

    Much effort is being spent promoting the language in State Schools through voluntary Gaelic Studies courses but CCMS schools should not be ignored.

    Languages across the board seem disturbingly weak however – Caitriona, get on with it a taisce!

  • ulsterfan

    We cant take seriously any thing she says about languages until she sorts out post primary selection procedures.
    what has she been doing all summer?

  • steve

    ulsterfan

    she sorted it out, its too bad loyalist bigots can’t accept it

  • Big Maggie

    Personally I like Caitriona’s style. First it was ‘Bring Them Home’ now it’s ‘Bringing it All Back Home’. Where will it all end?

  • barnshee

    “Educationally, there can be no objection, politically it’s inept and hackles-raising and gets the equivalent reply from Allister,who can’t wait to get in first with his wretched reply”

    As I understand it Irish is taught where there is a demand for it. It will not be taught in State/Protestant schools What principal is going to his board with that one.

  • Answer for Dewi

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaeltacht

    Though for some reason Waterford is left out for some reason.

  • Nathan

    Giving all Northern Irish pupils the option to study the language would be a progressive way forward.

    Those Protestants who want to engage with the language will be free to do so, safe in the knowledge that the subject can be dropped/cut back to GCSE ‘short course’ if the language gets a bit too hectic for them.

    Contrast that with the Republic where students feel compelled to learn every last morsel, all for the sake of a good Leaving Cert.

    I know which one I’d prefer

  • ggn

    Nathan,

    “Giving all Northern Irish pupils the option to study the language would be a progressive way forward.@

    True but practically impossible due to teacher and the fact that almost every new teacher is sucked up into a growing IME sector.

    Although travelling specialists could do the job.

    However, as Barnshee has pointed out “It will not be taught in State/Protestant schools What principal is going to his board with that one.”

    Even if a principal felt he had 10/20 students for the subject, which is quite possible (State schools have more variety in them than some might acknowledge), and this minority could be handled by a travelling teacher, one can imagine the position the head would have to put himself in.

    Frankly, I would fear for that person’s physical safety in some areas.

    “Those Protestants who want to engage with the language will be free to do so, safe in the knowledge that the subject can be dropped/cut back to GCSE ‘short course’ if the language gets a bit too hectic for them.”

    See my Gaelic Studies suggestion above.

  • IJP

    Slug

    You’re not suggesting a committed Irish Republican (you know someone who believes in green and orange coming together with white) doesn’t support integrated education where Irish people are schooled together?

    I’m shocked!

    (Sarcasm off)

  • Reader

    steve: (Re: Ruane’s plans for post-primary) : she sorted it out, its too bad loyalist bigots can’t accept it
    What have either loyalism or bigotry got to do with post-primary selection or streaming?
    However, two questions: If, as you say, she has ‘sorted it out’ – where are the details? Have you a URL which describes what she has achieved or even proposed in the past couple of years?
    Secondly – what is she doing about integrated education? As a true Republican you would want some progress there, wouldn’t you?

  • Essentialist

    Caitriona Ruane has taken over seven months NOT TO get round to writing a letter she promised to parents on the admission, transfer and other post-primary arrangements.

    For anyone to talk of this “being sorted” reveals their only contribution to the situation – a reliance on hectoring and bullying with a hopeful result of concession. Afraid it just isn’t going to happen – not even if the DUP fold on academic selection and grammars.

    On the learning of Irish – surely it tells all when commercial language company Rosetta Stone don’t offer the language on DVD. Clearly no market. Easier to get the lax British government to pay for it through CCEA and activist teachers..

  • ggn

    Essentialist,

    ” surely it tells all when commercial language company Rosetta Stone don’t offer the language on DVD”

    I think when your enemy has nothing left but lies, you know the arguement has one.

    Rosetta Stone have Irish learning materials, recongising the market you see.

    http://www.rosettastone.com/personal/languages/irish

  • ggn

    Feck it!

    Time for Canan nan Gaidheal again!

    Oh, and BBC Alba is four days away! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaelic_Digital_Service

    Surprised Jim Allister hasnt put out a warning about it!

  • RG Cuan

    surely it tells all when commercial language company Rosetta Stone don’t offer the language on DVD. Clearly no market.

    Surely it tells all when people don’t have a clue what they’re talking about and when they make incorrect claims about the market for certain languages…

  • Dewi

    ggn – superb video – see the comment someone has left. Funny.

    “Good work. my like cathies version better though 😛
    think she is like my 3rd cousin. well everyone in barra is my cousin :P”

  • Dewi

    And it’s great that BBC Alba will show an SPL game thre hours after kick off on Saturday. That will get people interested.

  • Dewi
  • Dewi
  • Rob UK

    Its Ulster scots dat hasnae rosetta stone dvd wich is unterstantable fat id geds micksed oop with gaelic as idis also a Ulster spake

  • ggn

    Dewi,

    Gaelic Rock, Just rock even disnae git much better than this!

    Runrig Rocks.

    Check this out as well

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=luan+parle+taibhse&search;_type=&aq=1&oq=luan+parle

  • Dewi

    Both cool GGN – I got a Rugby game to go to tomorrow but will have a look on saturday night on BBC Alba – getting Soccer is fab. Mind you, nobody beats Cerys….

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=TKX4m_l1_Qk

  • Where has Essentialist gone? To find some company offering language learning cds – but not covering Irish?

  • TG4 should make it a priority to get the All Ireland football and hurling series live – next Sunday sees Kerry, a team with four Gaeltacht players, take on Tyrone, a team which has a positive attitude towards Irish.

    Yet the match won’t be broadcast live as Gaeilge on TG4 or any other channel? Couldn’t BBC NI broadcast it on one of their digital channels as Gaeilge?

  • Dewi

    Con – I agree – I’ve actually written to S4C to show Gaelic games. BBC ALBA showing Shinty which is good.