Trinity launches new degree for primary school teaching through Irish

The course is set to be available from next September

Trinity is launching a new degree for primary school teaching through Irish in the Marino Institute of Education. The new Bachelor in Education is to be made available from September 2019, Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton announced this morning.

The launch of this new Level 8 course follows a widely publicised shortage of primary school teachers across Ireland, and is part of Bruton’s overall plan to ensure that the supply of teachers is sufficient to meet demand.

Trinity is accrediting the course alongside the Teaching Council. Speaking at the launch today, Vice-Provost Professor Chris Morash said Trinity was “very pleased to grant accreditation to this degree”. He noted that it is “wonderful that our institutes are responding in such a practical way to the needs of the Irish Medium-Educational Sector”.

This new degree will not only meet the shortage in staff supply for Gaeltacht schools and Gaelscoileanna across the country, but also offers an opportunity for students with a keen interest in the Irish language to study teaching through Irish. Students who secure a place on the course may benefit from bursaries, Bloc Gaeilge in the Institute apartments, and will carry out all school placements in Gaeltacht and Irish-Medium schools.

At the launch of the course earlier today, Bruton stated that: “This represents an important advancement in the work which I am undertaking in increasing the number of teachers who can teach through the medium of Irish in the Gaeltacht and in the Irish-Medium sector in general.”

“Although we are hiring more teachers now than ever before – 6,000 over the past two years, I recognise that challenges exist,” continued Bruton. “Today’s announcement is one of a range of measures I am taking to address the issues that schools are seeing on the ground. Graduates of this All-Irish programme will greatly enhance the supply of primary school teachers for Gaeltacht and All-Irish schools.”

Dr Teresa O’Doherty, President of the Marino Institute for Education, stressed the importance of training “teachers with a high level of ability in Irish, who have an in-depth knowledge of immersion education and the ability to teach all of the Curriculum subjects through Irish.”

While demand for primary school teachers currently exceeds supply, this year’s Central Applications Office (CAO) data showed an 8% increase in those with first choice applications in primary school teaching. This is conducive to Bruton’s plan for tackling teacher supply issues, with this increase in demand for teaching courses set to ensure a higher turn-out of graduates in 2022, while the 35 graduate students of the newly launched Bachelor of Education through Irish are due to enter the work force in 2023.