The Department of Education is to review how it grants exemptions from studying Irish.
The department will conduct the review after it emerged thousands of students who secure them are sitting exams for other European languages, according to the Irish Times.
Almost 60% of the 3,851 pupils who were granted an exemption from Irish in 2016 went on to study languages such as French, German or Spanish.
Currently, an exemption may be sought in the following circumstances:
- Children whose primary education up to 11 years of age was received in Northern Ireland or outside Ireland.
- Children who were enrolled in a recognised primary or post-primary school and who are now re-enrolling again after having been abroad for at least 3 years. The child must also be at least 11 years of age on re-enrolment.
- Children from abroad, who have no understanding of English when enrolled, would be required to study one language, - either English or Irish.
- Children of diplomatic or consular representatives in Ireland.
- Children, in whose case the Minister is satisfied, that they are resident in this country as political refugees.
- Children assessed as having either a specific or general learning disability who meet the Department’s specific criteria as set out in the relevant circular.
- Children with serious sensory disability as set out in the relevant circular.
- Digital Desk