Chinese looks set to be a Leaving Certificate subject within a few years as well as being an option in the revamped Junior Certificate for all second-level students.
Ruairi Quinn, the education minister, told students already taking Chinese at dozens of schools that it his intention to eventually have exams in the language available for school leavers.
He was speaking at an event to launch an optional subject for transition year students and where details emerged of it becoming a choice for the junior cycle.
“I hope that we can learn from the implementation of these two courses, as it is my intention to then move to have Chinese included as a subject in the Leaving Certificate examination in due course,” he said.
Under the system proposed to replace the Junior Certificate for students starting second level in 2014, up to four short courses can be taken in place of traditional subjects leading to the new qualification.
While many of these courses can be designed by schools, a number are being designed centrally by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.
With planning approval given this week for the first phase of a €1.4bn Chinese investment hub in Athlone, Shan Wu, the country’s first Chinese teacher-in-residence, said having the subject on the curriculum for all schools would be a good idea to widen young people’s career options.
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