The minister for education and skills, Joe McHugh, was at the Marino Institute of Education, an associated college of Trinity, this morning, to launch their new degree for primary school teachers, taught entirely through the medium of Irish.
McHugh welcomed 36 student teachers who have started studying the new Irish-medium Bachelor of Education (Primary Teaching- Initial Teacher Education Programme). The fact that the degree is to be delivered entirely through Irish is a first for an initial teacher education degree programme for primary teachers.
Attending the induction day in Marino, Minister McHugh said: “This is an important day in the history of Irish education. It is a privilege to be with the students and wish them well in their journey to becoming teachers.”
“In a few years these young graduates will be key to instilling passion for the Irish language in school children, whether that’s in a Gaeltacht primary school or in a Gaelscoil. They will also be key to delivering all of the primary curriculum through Irish.”
Originally announced in September 2018, this level 8 course follows a widely publicised shortage of primary school teachers in Ireland. The course will be accredited by Trinity, alongside the Teaching Council.
Students studying this degree programme primarily come from Gaelcholaisti and Gaeltacht post-primary schools, as well as post-primary schools where Irish is the second language. A third of the students are staying in all-Irish accommodation on the Institute’s campus as part of the Marino’s Residence Scheme. Irish will be the main language of communication amongst students participating in the programme.
The Department of Education and Skills has put forward an investment of 5 million to enable 150 students to enrol in the Irish-medium B.Ed. programme over eight years. Each student enrolled in this degree will receive a 1,000-euro bursary to assist with accommodation or travel costs. In return, the students will be helping the Irish Language Officer in the Marino Institute to promote the use of Irish amongst all of the students.
Dr. Teresa O’Doherty, the president of the Marino Institute of Education said: “Marino Institute of Education is very grateful for the funding provided by the Department of Education and Skills for this Irish-medium B. Ed Programme, a degree which will greatly benefit Irish-medium and Gaeltacht education.”
The induction day also marked the opening of the Gaeltacht Quarter (An Cheathrú Gaeltachta) in the Students’ Space in Marino Institute to afford opportunities to students in socialising through Irish.