Wednesday, 8 June 2011
Question 14: To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the Professional Development Service for Teachers trainers do not have adequate Irish language skills to support school planning and in-school mentoring in Gaelscoileanna; and the reason, unless training is undertaken in English, that it is impossible for a Gaelscoil to have a mentor in the classroom. [14447/11]
The PDST has personnel with the necessary Irish language skills to support gaelscoileanna in terms of school planning and teacher mentoring. The level of resources provided to the PDST has fallen in recent times in accordance with overall budgetary constraints. Identified needs are responded to within the resources provided as quickly as possible. The service may augment its numbers through the engagement of advisers on a part-time basis in areas where there are identified deficits in provision. My Department is not aware of any case where a school did not receive support in the areas identified through the medium of Irish where this was requested.
Does the Minister not agree that a serious lack of resources allocated to teacher training and Irish language skills to support school planning and in-school mentoring in gaelscoileanna is having a detrimental effect on how the Irish language is being taught? My understanding is that adequate numbers of teachers are available to instruct in maths, science and Irish, the three subjects covered by the trainers, whereas the other subjects are experiencing a shortage. This relates to our discussion of a few minutes ago. Many people are working in the sector and Irish language activists feel strongly about the language, but we do not have personnel to train teachers adequately. They are asking where is the equality in the system. It is a question of resources and the issue was probably one under previous Ministers as well, but many of those involved in the gaelscoileanna feel strongly about the matter. If-----
According to the replies provided to me by the Department, we are not aware of a shortfall or lack of support through the medium of Irish in any of the areas sought by the schools in question. If the Deputy has specific details, please bring them to my attention.