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Irish education organisations in talks about merger

October 18, 2011

Gaelscoileanna Teoranta and Eagraíocht na Scoileanna Gaeltachta  are currently in talks about merging the functions of the  two Irish language education organisations.

A motion was passed at the annual general meeting of Eagraíocht na Scoileanna(ESG) which was held in Galway last weekend, giving the go-ahead for discussions with Gaelscoileanna Teoranta.

The idea of merging the two organisations was one which first  emerged over a year ago. Bláthnaid Ní Ghréacháin, CEO of Gaelscoileanna believes the foundation of one authoritative Irish language education organisation to speak and act on Irish language issues on a nationwide basis would be of great benefit to the language and to students.

It would also be in line with the goals of the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish language that initiatives focusing on Irish language education would be carried out in a co-ordinated fashion.

The two organisations currently operate in different areas with funding from separate state agencies. ESG currently operates in Gaeltacht areas  and receives funding from the Department Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht with Gaelscoileanna Teoranta, who are funded by Foras na Gaeilge,  responsible for the co-ordination of Irish medium education outside of Gaeltacht areas.

The organisations are hoping that the two funders will take an active role in these discussions and propose a solution  to the funding of any new organisation.

ESG are funded until the end of the next month but no decision has been announced by the Department  as to the future funding  of the organisation.

©Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com

Job losses feared for Sligo Gaelscoil

October 18, 2011

Two jobs are set to be lost in Sligo Gaelscoil Chnoc na Ré due to a decision of the Department of Education and Skills to end the favourable  pupil-teacher  ratio which applied to small Gaelscoileanna.

The school has been located in temporary accommodation since it was founded in 1996 and a health and safety report carried out in 2009 revealed that the classrooms were inadequate and overcrowded for the 177 students enrolled in the school

Principal Micheal Ó Broin will have to return to the classroom as a result of the decision and he says that there the decision raises serious questions as to the the Department of Education’s commitment to Irish medium education.

“Not only are gaelscoileanna unjustly suffering the effects of unsuitable accommodation and reduced supports; we are now stretched to breaking point by increased pressure on diminished resources”, he said.

He believes that  is  little or no educational or linguistic basis for the decision and that it goes against the stated role for Gaelscoileanna in the government’s 20 Year Strategy for the Irish language.

The school held an open day today to highlight the impact of the changes to the pupil-teacher ratio and has called on Minister Ruairí Quinn to reconsider the decision.

©Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com

Coláiste Ghlór na Mara – Register Now!

October 17, 2011

Coláiste Ghlór na Mara is please to announce the new online registration service.

A founding committee was established in 2008 with the one aim – to open a Gaelcholáiste that would cater for pupils in North County Dublin, East County Meath and South County Louth. As the result of a very vigorous campaign the Department of Education and Skills has decided to open a Gaelcholáiste on a site it has already purchased in Balbriggan for September 2014. Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna LánGhaeilge Teo along with the founding committee are submitting an application for patronage of this Gaelcholáiste. At this stage it appears that this Gaelcholáiste will be under the patronage of An Foras Pátrúnachta and that Coláiste Ghlór na Mara will open its doors to first year students in September 2014. This will be confirmed during the spring of 2012. A submission for Coláiste Ghlór na Mara was put before the Department of Education and Skills in September 2010 and now following on from that an official application for patronage of the school must be made. Part of this application requires the gathering of details for possible future students of the school e.g. Name, address, date of birth etc. As a result of this the founding committee have prepared a new registration form (link below) which has all of the details now required by the department. Even if you have filled in a previous registration form we would ask you to please fill in this form again now as some of the previous forms didn’t have all of the details now required by the department.

Visit our registration page here: http://colaisteghlornamara.com/2011/10/15/claru-nua-new-registration-form/

Siansa Gael Linn 2011 winners to feature on ‘Céilí House’!

October 13, 2011

The winners of Siansa Gael Linn 2011, ‘Éile’, from Laurel Hill Coláiste FCJ, Limerick,  will be on air during the RTÉ Big Music Week 2011 ! A special programme of the popular series ‘Céilí House’  featuring the young musicians will be broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 on Saturday, 15 October at 9.02p.m.  The ‘Éile’ group members include Deirdre Ní Mhaoláin, Máire Ní Riain, Ellen Ní Ghormáin, Marta Ní Ghlinn, Emma Ní Dhubháin, Eimear Ní Mhaolain, Sophie De Buitléir agus Zoe Stedje.  Taking part in the programme alsowill be teachers Holly Geraghty, an accomplished harpist  and concertina-player,  well-known fiddler Bernadette Nic Gabhann and school principal Aedín Ní Bhriain, a beautiful singer !
The programme will be presented as usual by the gregarious Kieran Hanrahan, and produced by Peter Browne.  Don’tmiss it !

Article by Gael Linn

Gaelscoil na Cille – Tríocha Bliain faoi Bhláth

October 13, 2011

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Ceiliúradh 25 bliain i nGaelscoil Ultain

October 13, 2011

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

A bit Irish

October 12, 2011

In response to Mr G G Dalton’s letter on October 3 and Mr Doyle’s letter on September 28, I must say that I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Dalton’s assertion that Irish be made optional for the Leaving Cert.

Mr Doyle states that 70pc of Irish parents support compulsory Irish — why weren’t the students asked? (and I mean students from all over the country, not just Gaeltacht areas). Most students in fifth year are over 16 years old. At this age, they are deemed responsible enough to decide on their own medical treatment, yet they are not allowed to decide whether or not to study Irish. I have a son in fifth year and I asked him to go around his class and ask how many of them would do Irish for the Leaving Cert if it was optional. A total of two out of a class of 30 said they would. Incidentally, there are 145 students in his whole year and 25 are doing Irish at higher level (and this figure will go down much lower by the time they sit their Leaving Cert). In case Mr Dalton doesn’t believe my figure, I would suggest that he asks any fifth year student to carry out a similar survey and not have to get Bord na Gaeilge to ‘ask the parents’. By the way, I am not against the abolition of Irish in any shape or form and every resource should be made available to students who WANT to study it. I am sure these students would prefer to be in a class where their classmates have a genuine love of the language and not be in a class where 98pc of the pupils don’t want to be there.

Name and address with editor

Irish Independent – Litir chuig an Eagarthóir
10 Deireadh Fómhair 2011

Minister must demand better return on Irish language spend

October 12, 2011

OPINION: To justify its budget, Foras na Gaeilge must play a more assertive role

IN THESE straitened economic times, when “value for money” is the constant refrain, it is appropriate to look at how funds are spent spend money on the promotion of the Irish language. While those inherently hostile to the language will use the economic difficulties for another demand that the language be officially marginalised, all popular surveys show a clear majority of the population value the language and want it protected, advanced and preserved in some way. And the Government has responded to that reality by endorsing the 20-year strategy for the language. We now have a programme for Irish, but how should we bring it forward and what use should be made of State money in this context? These questions are important now because in December the Government will have to appoint a new board for Foras na Gaeilge, the primary State instrument for language policy implementation.

Will it be business as usual, or will the Government take an approach that sets measurable targets and expects results? Foras na Gaeilge is complicated by the fact that it is a North-South implementation body under the terms of the Belfast Agreement. It replaced the previous State board, Bord na Gaeilge, but as a North-South body it is very much constrained by political sensitivities that are not entirely in the Government’s control. Sinn Féin, of course, was anxious during the agreement negotiations to include Irish policy in the list of such bodies, because it would inevitably enhance the status of Irish in the North and create a context for pushing the language there. The South, however, is different. Officially, the language has primary status, but in fact officialdom treats it largely with indifference. A small amount of money suffices to take it off the agenda. This small amount, EUR18 million from two governments this year, has itself been reduced by 10 per cent and further cuts of the same size could be in prospect in the next two budgets. It is vital, therefore, to make sure that this money is used most effectively.

All serious language revivalists (including those who just wish to see the language preserved as a spoken medium) accept there are three main focuses of a coherent language policy. The first is to maintain the economic, social and linguistic vitality of the existing Gaeltachtaí,­ where Irish remains – in varying degrees of strength – as the spoken vernacular of family and community life. The second is recognising and ensuring legitimate rights of Irish speakers throughout the State (and indeed throughout the island), in terms of public business and cultural servicing in radio and television. And the third is ensuring a public presence of the language, and encouraging community initiatives and especially educational developments such as Gaelscoileanna. The endorsement of the 20-year strategy provides the basis for all of these. Of course, Údarás na Gaeltachta is the key player as regards Gaeltacht policy, and Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs Dinny McGinley was very much on the ball when he insisted that the Údarás should keep the industrial development functions that Colm McCarthy’s “Bord Snip Nua” wanted to take from it. The Coimisinéar Teangan, Seán Ó Cuirreáin, is working strongly and effectively as regards public rights, but it is the third pillar that needs strengthening.

Read the minutes of Foras na Gaeilge that are published online, and it becomes apparent that it is a very incestuous set-up. When one set of grant applications is up for discussion, two or three members of the board absent themselves to avoid a conflict of interest. When the next comes up the previous absentees return while another two or three go out. It’s like Lanigan’s Ball, with the music playing to an essentially empty hall. To justify the money spent on it, Foras na Gaeilge needs to play a more assertive role as part of the strategy. Minister for the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, of course, is under severe constraints: he has to take account of the North-South dimension, with only half of the board for his nomination, and he has to take account of Labour wishes as well as those of his own party. But it is crucial that the new board is not just a collection of county councillors and party connectees. It needs activism, not for the sake of confrontation but to advance the Government’s declared agenda in the strategy, which theoretically at least enjoys the support of all Dáil parties. The Minister knows the leader of the Labour Party, Tánaiste Éamon Gilmore, (as well as the Taoiseach Enda Kenny himself), is favourably disposed to a coherent language policy. This should give him courage to take command of the board, and reshape it as an active instrument for the policy he wants to develop and implement. For while Deenihan is not a fluent speaker of Irish, he is committed to the language. The appointment of a new board is therefore a chance to really develop policy in this area and ensure the “value for money” that the economists demand of us.

The Irish Times – Eoin Ó Murchú
10 Deireadh Fómhair 2011

Seimineáir faoin siollabas nua Gaeilge

October 12, 2011

Sorry, this entry is only available in Irish.

Teaching resource for new Leaving Cert oral exam

October 5, 2011

A copy of the DVD ‘Cuireadh Chun Cainte’ was delivered to every school in the 26 counties last week, and in the coming weeks seminars will be held for the members of Comhar na Múinteoirí Gaeilge across the country, to explain how to get the best use out of this teaching aid in the classroom. ‘Cuireadh Chun Cainte’ is a practical guide from Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge and Comhar na Múinteoirí Gaeilge, for those who will be undertaking the new Irish Oral for their Leaving Certificate from 2012 on.

The new syllabus for the 2012 Leaving Certificate presents many challenges,  the oral exam is a common exam for both Higher Level and Ordinary Level students, and it will be challenging for teachers to cater for students at all levels. From 2012, 40% of the marks for the Irish exam will be awarded for the Irish Oral, an exam which takes place over a fifteen minute period.

The new Irish Oral exam has four distinct parts, Reception, Poetry Reading, Description of a Series of Pictures, and Conversation.  This DVD gives students the tools to successfully undertake each of the four parts of the exam at either Higher or Ordinary Level.

The programme gives students and teachers alike, an idea of what to expect in the Irish Oral exam.  Students will be more comfortable preparing for the Oral, once they understand the structure of the exam.   The programme is suitable for students at both Higher and Ordinary Level, as practical advice is given on to how to avoid common pitfalls, and how to undertake effective communication with the examiner.  Parts of the DVD are specifically aimed at students with a good proficiency in Irish to help them add to their fluency, their vocabulary and their communication skills.

Handbooks and flashcards are available as an extra feature on the DVD, as an aid for both teachers and pupils.  The presenter, Marcus Lamb, can be heard reading each of the poems on the syllabus so that pupils can practice along with him.

The package is suitable for students and teachers in Gaeltacht schools, in Gaelscholáistí, and in schools who teach through the medium of English.

Representatives of Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge and Comhar na Múinteoirí Gaeilge last week met with teachers in Cork, to discuss any questions or concerns teachers may have surrounding the Irish language oral exam at Leaving Cert level, and in the coming weeks similar seminars will be held at venues in Port Laoise (04 October), Carrick-on-Shannon (11 October), Sligo (13 October), Limerick (27 October), Killarney (04 November) and Maynooth (11 November).

Further information relating to the times and venues of the above seminars is available from Saffron Rosenstock, at 01 6398448.

‘Cuireadh Chun Cainte’ was funded by An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta, Foras na Gaeilge, and Teacher Professional Networks.

©Foilsithe ar Gaelport.com

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