Irish requirement for teaching training a barrier to a diverse workforce

08 December 2022

Labour education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has called for a review into the requirement for Higher Level Irish at Leaving Certificate level for people entering the teaching profession.

With huge challenges faced by the teacher shortage, Deputy Ó Ríordáin questioned the rationale for the mandatory Higher Level Irish qualification, when it is not needed for maths or English.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“The teacher shortage issue has been well played out politically, however no meaningful solutions have been brought to the table as to how we can encourage more people into the profession. The need for Higher Level Irish at Leaving Cert level jars with other mandatory subjects. It’s time to understand why this rule is in place and consider changing course requirements for entry into the teaching profession.

“The reality is that our teaching training universities can and do bring all graduating teachers up to the required standard in all subject areas – from languages, to the arts, to the sciences. Yet, Irish is the only subject that demands a Higher Level grade.

“As it stands, the Minister for Education is overseeing the collapse of teaching as we know it. School communities up and down the country are crying out for more teachers. Ultimately, it is children who are the real losers here as class sizes remain high and teachers continue to be too stretched on the ground.

“We are seeing less and less young graduates opting to pursue the teaching profession. Removing barriers like a Higher Level qualification in Irish is one way we could tackle this head on. As a State we should be attracting a diverse group of young people into the profession.”

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