Modern languages initiative vital

WE, the undersigned, are writing in protest at the recent decision of the Government in the budget to abolish the Modern Languages in Primary Schools Initiative (MLPSI).

This initiative has provided language classes in French, German, Italian and Spanish in over 500 primary schools in Ireland since 1998.

The MLPSI has done incredible work promoting the uptake of a variety of languages in schools and promoting language and cultural awareness among young children.

This move by the Government will have a hugely negative impact on languages in Ireland. The Royal Irish Academy only recently called for the expansion of the MLPSI under the National Languages Strategy, and employer groups have repeatedly called for more language tuition in schools.

This decision shows a disregard for the importance of language teaching at a young age and a short-sightedness about the future needs of this country. It sends a message of insularity to our European neighbours and restricts the possible futures of the children of Ireland.

The Government claims that the relatively small amount of money saved by the abolition of the MLPSI will be used towards improving numeracy and literacy skills in primary schools.

However, the study of a modern language actually helps promote increased literacy and numeracy, while also enhancing linguistic, academic and social skills.

We, therefore, strongly urge the Government to reverse this decision and to support the key work of the MLSPI in the future.

The School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, NUI Galway

Dr Anne O’Connor

Dr Deirdre Byrnes

Ms Pilar Alderete-Diéz

Dr Lorna Shaughnessy

Dr Tina-Karen Pusse

Prof Hans-Walter Schmidt-Hannisa

Dr Maria Scott

Prof Jane Conroy

Ms Doris Devilly

Ms Emer O’Flynn

Dr Lillis Ó Laoire

Ms Suzanne Gilsenan

Dr Amanda Kelly

Dr Philip Dine

Dr Sylvie Lannegrand

Ms Begoña Sangrador-Vegas

Ms Annelie Eberhardt

Prof Bill Richardson

Dr John Walsh

Mr Diego Soto Hernando

Dr Mel Boland

Ms Carmel Naughton

Dr Catherine Emerson

Dr Laura McLoughlin

Dr Lindsay Myers

Dr Jacopo Bisagni

Mr Martin Rahl

Ms Áine Ryan

Dr Máire Áine Ní Mhainnín

Ms Sylvie Mossay

Dr Lorraine Kelly

Prof Paolo Bartoloni

Mr Éamon Ó Cofaigh

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