Up to 60 new places on Irish-medium teacher-training courses are to be created as part of a €7 million push to address the shortage of Irish teachers in the education system.
Under the scheme, two new Irish-medium teacher education programmes will be delivered by the Marino Institute of Education and Mary Immaculate College.
The programmes, announced by Minister for Education Richard Bruton on Thursday, are in addition to the 380 extra places on initial teacher education courses announced recently, and will address shortages in schools in both Gaeltacht and non-Gaeltacht areas.
“Teachers and school leaders are the most important factor in ensuring a child has a positive outcome from school. I want to ensure that our Irish-medium schools have sufficient numbers of adequately qualified teachers to deliver an excellent education programme through Irish and these new courses are an important step to ensure this,” Mr Bruton said.
Marino Institute of Education will deliver a four-year Irish-medium bachelor of education (B Ed) for primary teachers commencing in 2019 and Mary Immaculate College will run an Irish- medium masters in education (M Ed) for primary and postprimary teachers, including principals, commencing in 2018.
In 2016 the Government launched Polasaí don Oideachas Gaeltachta 2017-2022 (Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022). It was the first time a strategy focused on addressing the educational needs of Gaeltacht areas was published since the foundation of the State.
The goal of the policy is to ensure the provision of high quality Irish-medium education in Gaeltacht schools to support the use of Irish as the main language of Gaeltacht communities.