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Minister Ciarán Cannon opens the annual conference of Gaelscoileanna Teoranta

November 28, 2011

The Minister of State for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon, T.D., today opened the annual conference of Gaelscoileanna Teoranta, in the Tullamore Court Hotel, Co. Offaly.

After thanking the organisers for inviting him and congratulating students on their involvement in the event, Minister Cannon noted the increase in demand for Irish medium education saying that “this is thanks in large part to the work of Gaelscoileanna Teoranta in enthusing parents, in espousing the benefits of bilingualism, and in supporting high quality provision”.

This growth can be seen in the number of Irish–medium services at various levels of the education system:

  • In 2011, 25 new naíonraí opened across the country, compared to 17 in 2010
  • At primary level the number of schools teaching through Irish outside of the Gaeltacht has increased from 20 in 1976 to 140 in 2011
  • At second level, the number of Irish medium schools outside of the Gaeltacht has increased from 16 in 2000/1 to 27 currently, with a further 10 schools with Irish streams

Gaelscoileanna Teoranta aims to develop, facilitate and encourage Irish-medium education at primary and post-primary levels. As well as liaising with the Department of Education and Skills on policy matters, it provides valuable practical support to school communities. This includes in-service courses to teachers, principals and boards of management on requirements specific to Irish medium education.

The Minister noted the resources provided by the Department towards Irish medium- education, which include “professional development services delivered through Irish, summer courses and online resources.

“In an encouraging sign for the future, I am delighted to see that the colleges of education continue to attract students to the teacher education programmes who have achieved a high grade in higher level Irish in the Leaving Certificate examination”.

The Minister concluded by again thanking the organisers.