Modern Languages in Primary Schools 29/6/12
Adios, Au Revoir to Modern Languages in Primary Schools
Friday, 29 June 2012
Press Statement Sheila Nunan General Secretary Irish National Teachers’ Organisation
on Modern Languages in Primary School
Adios, Au Revoir, Auf Wiedersehen, Arrivederci to Modern Languages in Primary Schools
Today marks the end of the primary school year and this year the end of modern languages in primary school. When schools reopen in September modern languages will not be taught as part of the curriculum.
Sheila Nunan, General Secretary of the INTO today strongly criticised the government for its decision to remove modern language teaching from more than 500 primary schools. Modern languages have been included on the curriculum for nearly fifteen years.
“It is a regressive, poorly thought out and foolish government decision,” said Ms Nunan. “If education is to contribute to economic recovery then this cutback handicaps the system.”
“It is like expecting someone to win a race but deliberately starting them behind other runners,” said Ms Nunan.
The union general secretary said there had been numerous calls to increase the teaching of modern languages in primary schools. “These came from people who know the contribution such a measure would make not only to the personal development of individuals but to the economic development and recovery of the country.” She said she couldn’t think of one person who recommended removing the initiative from primary schools.
“This cutback is short sighted in the extreme. It is a decision that will stain the record of this government,” she said.
Ms Nunan described today as a sad day for language learning in Ireland. “Schools all over Ireland showed what could be achieved with a little government support. We are proud of what everyone did to offer a valuable learning opportunity for young children in primary schools.”