Scrapping the Scrúdú?

A guy who goes by the name of Scousedaddy on Education Posts has decided to start a campaign.  If you qualify as a teacher outside of Ireland, you are forced to sit the most horrendous exam known to man called the Scrúdú Chailíochta Gaeilge (or the SCG for short).  Scousedaddy found something that shows the SCG may not be the only route into teaching for all those non-Irish trained teachers.

So, now he’s on a mission to spread the word.  Have a read of the letter below and if you agree with it, get in touch with him through Education Posts Forum (click on this link) or you can comment on this post and he’ll read it here.

Dear Sir/Madam

We would like to open discussions with yourselves as to the validity of the requirement for the Irish language in respect of foreign trained teachers in Ireland, such as ourselves. We are contacting other agencies and groups as detailed above to establish a broad consensus on the validity of the Irish language requirement for primary school teachers.

There are a number of issues relating to the requirement  which we would like to discuss and I will now detail these issues below:

  1. If the Department of Education are promoting intercultural education and inclusion, then why are teachers trained outside of the Irish state ( who happen to be of another culture and nationality other than Irish)  being asked to adopt a Gaelic identity by why of a qualification in the Irish language? Surely this is placing such teachers at risk of employment disadvantage before they gain the SCG qualification or if they refuse to adopt the Gaelic identity associated with the Irish language. If these teachers fail to gain teaching employment  as a result of this then we will maintain an indigenous teaching population from the dominant indigenous culture. Is this really healthy for education? I appreciate that Irish is the first official language on the Irish constitution (1937), but surely following years of mass immigration to Ireland, now is the time to look at this issue.
  1. Although Irish is the first language in Ireland, English is the most widely spoken language and the predominant language in everyday use. The Department have identified this by acknowledging this fact in the employment of teachers of EAL for pupils who do not have English as the first language. Surely this has placed the department in a difficult place with regard to Irish, they seek to protect the language through the primary school system, yet acknowledge that English is the important language for newcomer communities to learn if they are to be integrated into the new communities in which they are to live and learn in Ireland.
  1. The government has signed up to the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement and acknowledged that there are two distinct communities on the island of Ireland, each with their own distinct languages and cultures. Why then are schools patronised by the Church of Ireland or Presbyterian churches, particularly within Ulster, expected  to learn the Irish language of a Gaelic culture to which they do not subscribe. Why are they not able to study Ulster Scots instead? Similar cases can be made fro Educate Together schools who have a wide variety of cultures, as many church patronised schools in Ireland have, but who may wish to abstain from teaching a dominant cultural language to all pupils.

I do not wish to demonise the Irish language here, I fully acknowledge the right of those who wish to learn the language, and I believe that the best way to do that is through the Gaelscoil curriculum. Perhaps the rest of the school population could study the history and geography of Ireland as a separate subject which would have more relevance to all who live on the island of Ireland, those who do not identify with Gaelic culture, and therefore the Irish language, would then have a fairer access to teaching employment and consequently our teaching workforce would be more representative of the population of Ireland as it is today and not as it was in 1937.
We would very much like to discuss these matters with you, we are a group of teachers who now wish to put these issues into the public domain for debate, but obviously we would welcome input from agencies such as yourself to find a way forward and to remove barriers to the teaching profession which is what we believe the SCG qualification to be.
Yours etc

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