Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East, Micheál Kitt, says the decision to abolish the modern languages in primary schools initiative is deplorable and needs to be reversed.
During a Dáíl debate on the topic this week, Deputy Kitt claimed that the Minister for Education and Skills failed to see the link between the Modern Languages Initiative and the literacy and numeracy scheme.
“The 2008 report by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) is being quoted as the reason for stopping this initiative but the NCCA is also currently revising the language curriculum for primary schools.
“Ireland is the only country in Europe, apart from Scotland, where foreign languages are not a mandatory part of the curriculum. This initiative is needed now more than ever. I am disappointed at the small amount of money saved by this measure. The initiative was exceptional value for money, with a small budget allowing 27,000 fifth class and sixth class pupils to benefit. Over 550 schools benefit from the initiative and it would be a shame to see it being lost.”
Deputy Kitt added that the Vice President of Pay Pal said at the recent jobs announcement that ‘due to the rich talent and language skills of the workforce in Ireland we decided it was the best place where we wanted to do business’.
“We need this initiative more than ever. Students leaving our education system need strong literacy, numeracy, language and ICT skills. PayPal also encouraged those without languages and the unemployed to apply for jobs. He said he was very confident that people who had language skills would be those they would want to employ.
“I sincerely hope the NCCA will re-examine this matter and recommend the programme’s retention, the programme costs very little and it develops the child’s language and literacy schools. To cut this scheme in my view is deplorable and needs to be reversed,” Deputy Kitt concluded.