Thursday, 29 April 2021
Department of Education and Skills
65. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the details of the current engagements with stakeholders regarding the new draft specifications for Irish at leaving certificate level published by an organisation (details supplied) given the issues that have been raised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22456/21]
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) opened the consultation on draft specifications for Leaving Certificate Irish on 23 February 2021. In planning and in designing the consultation process, the NCCA was mindful to take account of the very challenging circumstances facing teachers, students, school leaders, and their communities due to Covid-19. In order to allow as many opportunities for all those interested to engage with the process, this consultation is scheduled to remain open for a six-month period. Typically, consultations on draft subject specifications take place over a six to eight-week period.
The NCCA is using a range of consultation techniques including an online survey, focus group and bilateral meetings, and written submissions to gather and record the experiences and perspectives of participants on all aspects of the draft specifications including the types of learning, teaching and assessment experiences set out for students.
To raise awareness further of this opportunity to contribute to these curriculum developments and to enable as wide an engagement as possible, the NCCA is also working closely with stakeholders in several organisations within the Irish-medium education sector. The NCCA, for example, in collaboration with Gaeloideachas hosted an information session followed by consultative focus groups for teachers in L1/T1 settings in early March. Further focus group meetings with teachers in L1 and L2 contexts are planned in conjunction with COGG (An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta).
I am aware that concerns have been raised by a number of Irish language organisations regarding the timeframe for completion of the consultation process underway. I understand that the NCCA met with a number of these organisations recently to discuss those issues.
The NCCA is very cognisant of the importance and value of robust stakeholder feedback on draft curriculum specifications to inform the finalisation of such documents. Given the current pandemic, the NCCA is keeping the ongoing consultation process and the potential need for an extension under review.
66. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills her plans to commence the process of creating a comprehensive policy for Irish in the education system in line with the aim to have 20% of civil service recruits proficient in Irish by 2030 as is outlined in the Official Languages Bill 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22457/21]
My Department is working on an ongoing basis on the initial planning work required for the development of an Irish-medium policy as part of the overall framework of the 20-year Strategy for the Irish language 2010-2030. The development of the policy will be informed by a consultation process and I look forward to working with relevant stakeholders in progressing this important work and building on the positive outcomes achieved already in the implementation of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education to strengthen Irish-medium education provision.