22nd February 2021
The INTO calls on the Department of Education and Comhchoiste Náisiúnta na gColáistí Samhraidh (CONCOS) to review the fees currently being charged for online Gaeltacht courses.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, traditional courses cannot take place in the Gaeltacht and student teachers must instead attend online courses which the INTO welcomed as an alternative option during the pandemic.
However, the INTO has noted the concerns of student teachers regarding significant fees currently being charged for online Gaeltacht courses, relative to the fees usually charged for attending traditional, immersive, in-person courses in the Gaeltacht. The fees being charged for online courses appear excessive considering the cost for accommodation and in-person supports has been removed.
The INTO consistently called for the reinstatement of a grant for student teachers to attend Gaeltacht courses, which had been abolished by the Government during the recession. We acknowledge that the grant has been re-instated for some student teachers, however in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic we call for exceptional funding/supports to be urgently made available to all student teachers who will participate in online Gaeltacht courses this year.