Regulating language schools

 

Sir, – As an education professional for most of my adult life, I wonder when actual regulation of English-language schools will become a reality.

The Department of Education and its subordinate QQI (Quality Qualifications Ireland) are replete with policy and aspirations but woefully understaffed and are essentially unfit for purpose.

The intended implementation of the Irish Education Mark, meant as a means of validating and recognising schools for their quality assurance and ability to delivery worthy training in this field, seems a long way off. As a result, QQI is unable to handle new applications for recognition of schools and is merely maintaining a “holding action” insofar as it can only manage to revalidate existing recognised schools.

As this sector attracts considerable worldwide attention, not to mention the rewards for the exchequer, isn’t it time we put our money and resources where our policies are (currently looking shabby and dreary like a sad Christmas tree we forgot about)? Or are we happy to mutter useless outrages when the next English-language school collapses, leaving students and teachers high and dry, despite the obvious onus on the Government to protect both? But maybe it’s an indication that English-language teachers (or teachers in general?) and the growing numbers of such students, being fleeting and temporary, are not worthy of our concern? This situation does no service to the dedicated professional teachers and schools that exist (alongside the not-so-ethical others in the market) and offers poor service to the many international students who come to Ireland to study our language and culture – and pay heavily for it!

I await the “outraged” response. – Yours, etc,

FRANCIS OLIVER NEARY,

Glasnevin,

Dublin 9.