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

Consent classes for post primary students to be launched following university successConsent classes for post primary students to be launched following university success

Fianna Fáil: Government should be 'upfront' over future delays to plans for new schoolsFianna Fáil: Government should be 'upfront' over future delays to plans for new schools

McHugh tells schools to offer special placesMcHugh tells schools to offer special places

'Available Places' scheme for students who didn't accept CAO offer today opened'Available Places' scheme for students who didn't accept CAO offer today opened

More in this Section

Dublin City Council to introduce reduced speed limits to 31 new areasDublin City Council to introduce reduced speed limits to 31 new areas

'One infected person can infect 10 to 20 people': HSE urge people to get vaccinated for measles and mumps'One infected person can infect 10 to 20 people': HSE urge people to get vaccinated for measles and mumps

Man and youth arrested in relation to firearm seizure in DroghedaMan and youth arrested in relation to firearm seizure in Drogheda

IMO criticise 'sub-standard' working conditions and 'empty promises' from GovernmentIMO criticise 'sub-standard' working conditions and 'empty promises' from Government


Lifestyle

In August 1969, headlines were dominated by Northern Ireland and the beginnings of what was to become known as “the Troubles”.August 26, 2019: A look back at what happened on this day in years gone by

Hundreds of grey seals, the ‘people of the sea’, haul out on Great Blasket’s Trá Bán.Blasket Island seals have cousins in Namibia

More From The Irish Examiner