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Two thirds of students think Irish should remain a compulsory subject up to Leaving Certificate level, but most students think more emphasis needs to be placed on speaking the language, according to research published on Wednesday (March 10) by the Union of Students in Ireland.

For ‘Report on the Teaching of Irish’ USI surveyed 1,539 students with the aim of providing evidence for the urgent need to reform the teaching of Irish in the education system.

The results show that there is a strong interest in learning Irish among students, with 67% of those surveyed saying Irish should remain compulsory up to the Leaving Certificate and 26% saying it should be compulsory until the Junior Certificate – only 7% felt Irish should be optional all the way through school.

However, there was a strong evidence for reform of the way Irish is taught, and the Irish curriculum, with 81% saying that the greatest emphasis was put on writing and reading the language despite most feeling emphasis should be put on speaking the language.

The report also shows a high level of support among students for Irish-medium education, with 70% of all respondents saying they would send their own children to Gaelscoileanna, while 98% of those who attended Gaelscoileanna themselves saying they would send their own children to Irish-medium schools.

USI Leas-Uachtarán don GhaeilgeClíodhna ní Dhufaigh said: “There must be greater emphasis placed on speaking the language as part of the curriculum and on Irish as a living language outside of the education system. This report shows a high demand for Irish-medium education at both primary and secondary level and this demand needs to be met in the Irish school system. It it no surprise that students who had Irish as a spoken language in the classroom got greater enjoyment out of the course and that needs to be encouraged.”

As one of the participants in the research said: “I really like the oral exam and learning for that. More emphasis needs to be put on conversation rather than learning poems and writing essays. I also enjoyed the aural exams because its important to be able to listen and understand other dialects.

This research was carried out by USI between October 2018 and January 2019, with 1,539 people taking part in a survey which was promoted through Students’ Unions, na Cumainn Ghaelacha, and Conradh na Gaeilge.

Síleann dhá thrian de mhic léinn gur cheart don Ghaeilge fanacht mar ábhar riachtanach don Ardteist, ach síleann an chuid is mó de mhic léinn go bhfuil gá le tuilleadh béime a chur ar labhairt na teanga, dár le taighde foilsithe dé Céadaoin (10 Márta) ag Aontas na Mac Léinn in Éirinn.

Mar chuid de ‘Tuairisc ar Mhúineadh na Gaeilge’ rinne AMLÉ suirbhé le 1,539 mac léinn chun fianaise a léiriú ar an ngéarghá le hathchóiriú a dhéanamh ar an nGaeilge sa chóras oideachais.

Taispeánann na torthaí seo go bhfuil suim láidir ag mic léinn sa Ghaeilge, agus 67% de rannpháirtithe ag rá gur cheart an Ghaeilge a bheith riachtanach suas go leibhéal na hArdteiste agus 26% ag rá gur cheart di a bheith riachtanach suas go dtí leibhéal an Teastais Shóisearaigh – níor mheas ach 7% gur cheart di a bheith roghnach trí an córas scoile ar fad.

Tá fianaise láidir ann áfach, gur cheart athchóiriú a dhéanamh ar an mbealach a múintear an Ghaeilge, agus curaclam na Gaeilge, agus 81% ag rá gur cuireadh an bhéim ba mhó ar scríobh agus léamh na teanga cé gurbh fhearr formhór rannpháirtithe dá leagfaí tuilleadh béime ar labhairt na Gaeilge.

Léirítear sa tuairisc chomh maith go dtacaíonn go leor mic léinn leis an nGaeloideachas, agus 70% de na rannpháirtithe uilig ag rá go seolfaidís a gcuid páistí chuig Gaelscoil sa todhchaí, agus 98% de dhaoine a d’fhreastail ar Ghaelscoil iad féin ag rá go gcuirfidís a gcuid páistí chuig Gaelscoil dá mbeadh clann acu sa todhchaí.

Dúirt Leas-Uachtarán don Ghaeilge in AMLÉ, Clíodhna Ní Dhufaigh: ‘Tá gá le tuilleadh béime a chur ar labhairt na teanga mar chuid de churaclaim agus ar an nGaeilge mar theanga bheo lasmuigh den chóras oideachais. Is léir ón taighde go bhfuil an-éileamh ar an nGaeloideachas, ag an mbunscoil agus ag an dara leibhéal agus gur cheart go bhfreastlófaí ar an éileamh seo sa chóras oideachais in Éirinn. Ní haon ionadh gur bhain mic léinn a raibh an Ghaeilge mar phríomhtheanga acu sa seomra ranga, níos mó suilt as an gcúrsa agus caithfear é sin a spreagadh’.

Mar a dúirt duine de na rannpháirtithe sa taighde: “Thaitin an scrúdú béil liom agus ag foghlaim dó sin. Caithfear béim níos mó a chur ar an gcaint seachas filíocht a chur de ghlanmheabhair agus ag scríobh aistí. Thaitin na scrúduithe éisteachta liom mar go bhfuil sé tábhachtach canúintí eile a thuiscint.”

Tugadh faoin taighde seo idir mí Dheireadh Fómhair 2018 agus mí Eanáir 2019, le 1,539 duine páirteach sa suirbhé a cuireadh chun cinn trí na hAontais Mac Léinn, na Cumainn Ghaelacha, agus Conradh na Gaeilge.

Read the report

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