A New Year’s Resolution for the Government – Recognise the value of teaching through Irish
Official recognition needed for the additional load on teachers who are teaching in Irish-medium settings to address the recruitment crisis in the sector, according to Gaeloideachas, the national support organisation for Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools
As the new year begins, Gaeloideachas – the national organisation supporting the development of Irish-medium and Gaeltacht education – is calling on the Minister for Education to reintroduce the allowance for teaching through Irish as a New Year’s resolution. The allowance was ended in 2011 and since then, there is no real incentive or recognition given to the significant additional responsibilities for teachers in schools where immersion education is in place.
An unfair divide has been created between teachers in Irish-medium schools as a result of the decision to end the allowance – between teachers who started working in the system from 2011 onwards, and those who still earn the allowance. Those still earning the allowance, who started before 2011, lose it if they move to another school, even if they are moving to another Irish-medium school. There is a teacher supply crisis in the Irish-medium and Gaeltacht education sector and there is no longer an incentive for teachers to move between schools or to move to an Irish-medium school.
“Action from the Government is badly needed to address the recruitment crisis and to give recognition to the additional skills and linguistic knowledge required by teachers in immersion education settings, over and above what is required for other teachers,” said Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO of Gaeloideachas. “The Policies for Gaeltacht Education and for Irish-medium education will depend on teachers with fluent Irish who are willing to work in immersion education settings. Teaching through Irish involves an additional workload and responsibilities for teachers, and these additional responsibilities and work must be recognised and acknowledged by reintroducing the allowance”.
“Teachers who are teaching in Irish-medium settings have additional responsibilities to balance teaching various subjects while also supporting Irish as the language of socialisation and the language of the school community in a broader sense,” according to Micheál S. Mac Donnacha, President of Gaeloideachas. “The additional work they do – like creating contemporary materials through Irish, corresponding bilingually with parents, developing their language skills, and creating assessment tools through Irish, for example – has real value, and it’s time for the Government to give recognition to this work.”
Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, CEO| email@example.com | 01 8535195 | 086-8050335
Micheál S. Mac Donnacha, President | firstname.lastname@example.org | 087-2891544
Notes for the Editor
Gaeloideachas is a national lead organisation supporting the development of Irish-medium and Gaeltacht education at primary and second-level. Gaeloideachas provides advice, help, and support to parents who want to give the opportunity of Irish-medium education to their children, as well as support services and advocacy on behalf of schools within and outside of Gaeltacht areas, together with naíonraí outside of the Gaeltacht.
The allowance for teaching through Irish stands at €1,785 annually for teachers who began teaching before December 2011. Two other allowances were removed from new teachers at the same time; an allowance for teachers in Gaeltacht schools totalling €3,455 and an allowance for those teaching on islands which stood at €2,078.