Written answers

Tuesday, 30 March 2004

Department of Education and Science

Teaching Qualifications

9:00 pm

Photo of Pat RabbittePat Rabbitte (Dublin South West, Labour)
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Question 142: To ask the Minister for Education and Science if, in view of recent statements from the INTO, he has plans to drop the requirement for teachers trained outside the State to pass the SCG Irish language examination within five years of working in schools here; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the exam is a barrier to filling chronic teacher supply shortages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9793/04]

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Education and Science; Meath, Fianna Fail)
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I established a working group to review all aspects of the syllabus and examination for the Scrúdú le hAghaidh Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge in 2001. The report of the working group was recently submitted to me and a copy of the report has been published on my Department's website.

The period of provisional recognition granted to applicants within which they are expected to pass the SCG is one of the issues dealt with in the report. The report is currently under consideration and decisions in relation to the recommendations contained in it will be taken very shortly.

At primary level teachers are class teachers rather than subject specialists and must be qualified to teach the range of primary school subjects to children aged four to 12 years. Accordingly, applicants must satisfy my Department that they are competent to teach the Irish language and to teach the range of primary school curricular subjects through the medium of Irish before being granted full recognition to teach in mainstream classes in national schools.

Teachers trained outside the jurisdiction of the State, whose qualifications have been assessed and accepted by my Department, but who do not possess an appropriate Irish language qualification, are granted a five year period of provisional recognition to teach in mainstream classes in national schools. During this period these teachers are expected to obtain their Irish language qualification to become fully recognised. These teachers are remunerated in the same manner as fully qualified teachers during this period.

There are of the order of 780 teachers, who were trained outside the State, serving in primary schools. In the circumstances, I do not accept that the Irish requirement is a barrier to filling vacancies.


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