The call by Labour to lower the standard of Irish needed to become a teacher won’t solve the real problems behind the short staffing crisis in schools, according to David Gardiner, Workers’ Party representative for Palmerstown-Fonthill.
“While there is a clear issue of staff shortages in our schools which needs to be addressed, lowering the standard of teaching of the Irish language won’t change that, as Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin seems to suggest.”
“The truth of the matter is that many who train to be teachers here are going abroad to work because of the poor conditions at home. Examples include things like pay inequality for newly-qualified teachers, the cost of training, a lack of permanent jobs and classroom sizes.”
“In other words, the issue around short staffing in schools has nothing to do with the Irish language and everything to do with the fact that the government is failing our teachers and our students.”
“If we improved in these areas, it would make it easier to recruit and retain teachers. This would mean teachers could provide our children with a better quality of education overall, including in the Irish language.”
“Ó Ríordáin also makes the claim that the requirement for a high standard of Irish is a ‘barrier to a diverse workforce.’ If that’s the case, why don’t we make the language more widespread and accessible? The government should fund a one-year Irish language programme for all prospective teachers. This would improve the quality of Irish spoken by all teachers, no matter their background.”
“Lowering the quality of Irish in our schools won’t change the poor working conditions faced by teachers. We should address the real problems, while also striving to make the Irish language more accessible in both our daily lives and as a means to working in education.”