Education system will be 'fairer' after changes to Irish exemption rules, body says

Education system will be 'fairer' after changes to Irish exemption rules, body says

The imminent removal of exemption criteria for students with special needs from studying Irish will help the Irish educational system to become “more equitable and fairer”, according to an advocacy body.

The Dyslexia Association of Ireland (DAI) welcomed the changes announced by Education Minister Joe McHugh, saying they represent something “that we have been waiting for for a long time”.

Mr McHugh said that for the coming school year, primary and post-primary pupils with special needs will be automatically exempted from studying the language should they so wish, regardless of their diagnosis.

The move is the first major change to the criteria for studying Irish in a quarter of a century, and was arrived at following an extensive public consultation.

Until now parents who wished to have their children exempted from studying the language were required to furnish the government with a costly psychologist’s report stating their unsuitability to participate in those classes.

“The old Irish exemption criteria was not fit for purpose and we look forward to the implementation of new criteria which we have been very involved in advocating for,” said Rosie Bissett, chief executive of the DAI, in light of the announcement.

She said that many of her association’s members had “waited a long time to be consulted on Irish exemptions and so when they were asked to do so they did not hold back”.

The study of the Irish language has long been held as a stumbling block for students with learning difficulties or to non-nationals at a disadvantage due to a lack of childhood grounding in the subject.

Mr McHugh described the changes, which will be implemented via a series of circulars to be distributed to schools next month, as “long overdue”.

Amy Smyth, information and advocacy coordinator with the DAI, meanwhile welcomed the fact that “many of our recommendations have now been taken on board”.

“This will hopefully create a much fairer system,” she said.

The public consultation on the issue ran from December 7 last year until mid-January and saw more than 11,000 people sharing their views on the matter.

More on this topic

Five schools to delay start of new term as mediation works are yet to be completedFive schools to delay start of new term as mediation works are yet to be completed

Students warned over potential college accommodation scamsStudents warned over potential college accommodation scams

67% of DEIS students want to go to college but lack confidence in ability to do so67% of DEIS students want to go to college but lack confidence in ability to do so

How do regional college courses measure up?How do regional college courses measure up?

More in this Section

Anonymising abuse records expensive, archives council toldAnonymising abuse records expensive, archives council told

Restructure will see 1,800 more gardaí on frontlineRestructure will see 1,800 more gardaí on frontline

Q&A: What you need to know as the Government decide to publish report on Public Services CardQ&A: What you need to know as the Government decide to publish report on Public Services Card

‘Continuity IRA’ bombing a ‘deliberate attempt to kill police’‘Continuity IRA’ bombing a ‘deliberate attempt to kill police’


Lifestyle

A parent coach says parents are often the best judge of how to care for their baby – and explains how they can learn to have faith in their intuition.Ask an expert: How can I know what’s best for my baby?

We take a trip down memory lane and check out what happened on this day in years gone by by looking back at some Irish Examiner front pages and highlighting other events which went down in history across the world.August 23, 2019: A look back at what happened on this day in years gone by

Romantic florals to 1970s chic, fun femininity to gothic grunge —we showcase the top autumn/winter looks at Brown Thomas, with a focus on the most exciting and diverse designer labels.Coming at you: The top autumn/winter looks at Brown Thomas

RP O’Donnell says it is hard to find anywhere better than Boston to show your family a great time as he returns to a city he used to call homeA family friendly holiday guide to get the best out of beautiful Boston

More From The Irish Examiner