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Where have the Teachers gone?

Protest/Photocall

Date: Thursday, 13th December

Location: Outside Leinster House

Time: 1pm

On Thursday, 13th December the Union of Students in Ireland amongst their member organisations and Conradh na Gaeilge will protest the absence of any Gaeltacht Grants at Third Level for student teachers. Students will meet outside Leinster House at 1pm.

Currently the Gaeltacht Fee sits at €750 per student, per visit. This does not take into account the cost of living, travel and these students missing out on their own paid jobs to undertake this placement. As it stands, Ireland is experiencing a teacher shortage in key subject areas such as Physics, Home Economics and Irish.

USI believes in language immersion, students strive to become the best teacher they can but without Government support, this task is becoming increasingly difficult. It is worth noting that Irish fee’s for third level education is the 2nd highest in Europe, it is evident that the teaching industry is becoming elitist as many students simply cannot afford this extortionate price for education.

The Union of Students in Ireland are calling on the Government to reinstate the Gaeltacht Grant immediately, as students can no longer be burdened with these costs on top of all else at third level.

USI President, Síona Cahill expressed;

“The additional Gaeltacht fee is a huge burden for student teachers, aspiring secondary school teachers need proof of 2 months residency in Gaeltacht areas. This takes our students out of their own jobs for a long portion of the Summer, a time when most students save for the academic year ahead.

The Minister for Education seriously underestimated the number of expected retiring teachers this year by 2 thirds. The Union of Students in Ireland are calling for the reinstatement of the Gaeltacht Grant immediately as our students can not afford this cost and 1st and 2nd level students are suffering as a result.”

“Julian de Spáinn, Ard-Rúnaí Conradh na Gaeilge spoke on this stating;

“Níl aon leithscéal ann don Rialtas gan na táillí Gaeltachta na n-ábhar oidí a bhaint, mar a bhí ann roimh an gcruachás sa gheilleagar. Is ceist tosaíocht í don Rialtas agus tá Conradh na Gaeilge ag éileamh ar an Aire Oideachais Joe Mc Hugh, TD, fear atá tiomanta do spreagadh foghlaim na Gaeilge, an beart a dhéanamh agus cothrom na féinne a thabhairt do na hábhair oidí. Creideann an Conradh go spreagfadh an beart seo na mic léinn agus iad ag foghlaim agus ag cleachtadh na Gaeilge mar chuid riachtanach dá gcúrsa tríu leibhéal”

USI Leas-Uachtarán Don Ghaeilge, Aoife Deasy said:

“€2 milliún sa bhliain a chosnódh sé costas iomlán a dtréimhsí sa Ghaeltacht a íoc don 1,200 ábhar oide. Tá géarchéim ann maidir le heaspa múinteoirí Gaeilge agus maidir le heaspa múinteoirí le Gaeilge líofa. Ní féidir Gaeilge a mhúineadh mura bhfuil Gaeilge ag na múinteoirí féin. Tá na mac léinn ag iarraidh an teanga a foghlaim, ach tá gá le tacaíocht chun dul”

Notes:

  • The Gaeltacht Grant was cut in 2012 and there has been no talk of reinstatement from the Government since.
  • When Parliamentary questions were asked (twice) during the Summer of Minister for Higher Education, Richard Bruton he said funds were not there.
  • The cost of reinstating the Gaeltacht Grant is: 2 million per annum
  • USI believes that the Irish language has been sieved out of Irish teachings for many years and cutting the Gaeltacht Grant is just one example of how the Government is failing young people in the education of their first language.
  • Minister for Education has underestimated the amount of teacher retirements, only estimating 1 third of the actual amount of teachers retired.
  • Teacher shortage in key subject areas such as Physics, Home Economics and Irish.

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