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December 10, 2012

‘Education is not a burden, but ignorance is a huge burden.’

But what is education? It is a process through which a child learns to live happily, getting physical, cultural and spiritual benefit from what he finds around him.

At this time of year, parents are thinking about the kind of education they would like their children to have. The educational system should prepare a child for a world that is smaller, for a world that is international, for a world in which people travel much more. Skills are required now that were not so important a few years ago.

Everyone agrees that languages are very important nowadays. In this regard, children in Derry and Inis Eoghain have the opportunity of getting a good start in their education and achieve fluency in two languages within a few years.

There are three all-Irish schools in Derry, which also have nurseries: Bunscoil Cholmcille, Gaelscoil Éadain Mhóir and Gaelscoil na Daróige. You have Gaelscoil cois Feabhail in Moville; there is a Gaelscoil in Buncrana and there is Gaelscoil Adhamhnáin in Letterkenny. There are Gaelscoileanna in Limavady and Dungiven, and other Irish medium schools in Strabane, Omagh, Magherafelt, and Maghera. And there is an Irish nursery in Carndonagh.

Two languages give a child confidence, they open his/her mind, and he/she enjoys what is achieved. You can start another language in secondary school, but often that is too late. A child can be taught a small amount of another language in primary school through the mother tongue. But if children learn a second language through ‘immersion education’, they become fluent early and naturally. They go from one language to another without thinking. They get interested in other languages.

Education through Irish has made great progress in recent years: it is now available in every county in Ireland. There are around 50 secondary schools and around 200 primary schools outside the Gaeltacht where children are taught through Irish. Local parents should think seriously about an educational system which is experiencing enormous growth throughout the country.

If you are interested in education through Irish, make an appointment with your local Gaelscoil where the staff will be more than happy to answer any questions.