Minister’s answers on Primary Language programme unacceptable

The Minister of Education is withdrawing supplementary funding from primary schools to teach languages tomorrow. This decision is ludicrous, for many obvious reasons – you need to learn languages young; you need languages to trade (and create jobs); you need languages to open your mind to other ways of seeing and experiencing things. The evidence is clear cut.

However, his excuse is even worse. He is having to withdraw the funding to “protect front line services”.

Bunkum.

The Minister has just funded an Irish language school against advice. I supported this, precisely on the basis that languages are good for young people. But it is not a “front line service”.

The Minister has just, yet again, recommended 600 teachers be trained in Northern Ireland (more than half in an inefficient, segregated environment), when we need no more than 400 (in an efficient, integrated environment). So, not a “front line service”.

The Minister continues to stall on mergers, over-spend on bureaucracy and put obstacles in the way of efficiency (not least integration), all of whichΒ take from “front-line services”.

So let’s hear less of this “front-line services” garbage. He is trying a cheap but, in the long term, serious cut to pay for a few pet projects, none of which add up to the best future for our young people.

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6 thoughts on “Minister’s answers on Primary Language programme unacceptable

  1. amghobsmacht says:

    Spot on Mr IJP.

    If he wants money for Irish mediums (which are a good thing linguistically, you’re quite right) then he has to make hard decisions and merge a few primary schools (or not impede schools that wish to become integrated).

    We don’t need two teacher training colleges either.

    Certain politicians spout things like ‘front line services’ or ‘duplicated services’ and seem completely oblivious to said shenanigans when it is by their own hand.

  2. Gareth Blood says:

    Are Irish Language schools genuinely cross-community? Has anyone had a look at the statistics?

    • I’m not aware of anyone suggesting they are, currently?

      Theoretically they are, but in practice they would fail the “Integrated” test on numbers (if not on ethos)?

      • Gareth Blood says:

        You said:

        “The Minister has just funded an Irish language school against advice. I supported this, ”

        Whose, and what, was the “advice”?

      • I didn’t support it because it was cross-community (it was in Dungiven, after all!) but because it would bring up children bilingually.

        However, it is illogical to fund that and then withdraw funds from helping thousands of children towards bilingualism.

  3. 416 says:

    At the friggin’ arse end of Europe we should be clambering to teach kids European friggin’ languages. The guy just seems like a giant tool to me.

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