Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge/Imleabhar 5/Uimhir 7/Irish in the National Schools

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Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge, Imleabhar V, Uimh. 7  (1894) 
Irish in the National Schools
[ 108 ]


The following is from the report of the proceedings of the Imperial Parliament on the 24th of August:—

Proposed Irish Professor for Marlborough-st. College.

Mr. Sexton (for Captain Donelan)—I beg to ask the Chief Secretary whether any professor of Irish is at present engaged at Marlborough-street Training College, Dublin; and if not, what facilities are afforded to National School Teachers in Ireland of acquiring such a knowledge of the Irish language as will enable them to impart instruction in English to children in Irish-speaking districts through the medium of their native tongue; and whether, in view of the admitted necessity for this knowledge, he will recommend the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland to appoint a professor of Irish at this Training College should no such professorship now exist there.

The Chief Secretary—There is no professor of Irish in Marlborough-street Training College. The Commissioners annually examine teachers for certificates to teach Irish, and they supply text-books at cost price for the use of classes learning Irish. Irish is also a subject which teachers may select in their examinations for promotion in the first class. At the annual examination of the teachers for the current year 29 teachers presented themselves for examination in Irish. Further, for proficiency of pupils in Irish the Commissioners grant a fee of 10s. per pass for each of the three years in which a pupil may be presented for examination in the subject. In 1893 there were 50 schools in which Irish was taught, and 903 pupils were presented in these schools for examination for results’ fees. The question of appointing a professor to teach Irish at the Marlborough-street Training College was referred by the Commissioners to the professors of the College for their opinion some years ago, and their unanimous reply was that Irish could not [ 109 ]possibly be introduced into the curriculum of the College except by the exclusion of some other subject of certainly more pressing importance.

Mr. Sexton said this matter was one which excited considerable interest in Ireland, and he asked whether the right hon. gentleman would undertake to reconsider the case.

Mr. Morley—I quite understand this subject being interesting to gentlemen from Ireland, and I will ascer- tain a little more precisely whether there are any good arguments against the establishment of an Irish chair.

Results’ Fees for Irish.

Mr. Sexton (for Captain Donelan)—I beg to ask the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that results’ fees for Irish are not allowed to National School Teachers in Ire- land in respect to pupils under the fifth class; and whether, in view of the importance in Irish-speaking districts of employing the vernacular in the junior classes as a means of teaching English, and of the fact that the majority of pupils leave school before reaching the fifth class, he will advise the Commissioners of National Edu- cation in Ireland to consider the desirability of extending the system of results fees in Ireland to all classes.

The Chief Secretary—The results’ fees for Irish are not paid for pupils lower than the fifth class. As regards the second paragraph, the Commissioners have informed me that the existing arrangement limiting the award of results fees for proficiency in the Irish language to pupils in the fifth and sixth classes, was only determined after mature consideration, and that at present they see no sufficient reason or altering the arrangement.

Mr. Sexton—As most of the children in Ireland leave school before the fifth class is reached, does it not appear that the exclusion of Irish deprives them of the oppor- tunity of being taught English through the vernacular in districts where Irish is the only language spoken?

The Chief Secretary—I think that is an argument for consideration.