An Coimisinéir Teanga has begun an inquiry into the fact that Leaving Certificate students can register in English only on the Department of Education website
An Coimisinéir Teanga, Rónán Ó Domhnaill, has launched an inquiry into the news that the Department of Education has given students no option to register in Irish for this year’s Leaving Certificate examinations.
The failure of the new Irish language system is strongly criticized by politicians who say the Department has shown disrespect for the Irish language and the language rights of its pupils.
The Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga confirmed to Nuacht.ie that the Department of Education and Skills was legally obliged to provide support services in Irish to schools that provide instruction through Irish.
In addition, under the Language Scheme agreed by the Minister for the Gaeltacht, the Department is statutorily obliged to provide any new interactive services they provide simultaneously in Irish and English.
Speaking of the program 7 Day on TG4 last night, Education Minister Joe McHugh said that no “excuse” could be made for the news that the Irish language option was not available and he claimed that the matter would be rectified.
A spokesman for An Coimisinéir Teanga said it would be “inappropriate” to say anything further about the case, as the Commissioner had “urgently” contacted the Department of Education about the matter and was investigating complaints he had received about it.
It is understood that complaints have been made to the Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga that the Student Portal for the Leaving Certificate Calculated Grades is only available in English (Calculated Grades Student Portal).
Complaints have also been made to the Commissioner’s office because the instructions for using the portal were in English only for all post-primary schools in the country, including Gaeltacht and all-Irish schools.
The Green Party states that Leaving Cert students in Gaeltacht and all-Irish schools are showing “depreciation” because they have no choice to register for the examinations in Irish.
Students can register their subjects and levels in English only on the Department of Education website launched yesterday morning.
Green Party deputy leader and education spokeswoman Catherine Martin has called on Education Minister Joe McHugh to ensure the immediate availability of an Irish language version of the online portal where Leaving Cert students register for the examinations.
Sinn Féin is also “disappointed” that the site is in English only.
Sinn Féin Education spokesman Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said that it is “a basic and conclusive right to spend your life through Irish in Ireland” and to receive public services in Irish.
Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said that Sinn Féin intended to put pressure on Education Minister Joe McHugh to resolve the matter.
The Education Minister announced on Twitter this afternoon that over 30,000 students have already registered on his department’s site for this year’s Leaving Cert based on projected grades.
— Joe McHugh (@McHughJoeTD) May 26, 2020
The online portal was launched yesterday morning and until this Thursday, May 28, students of the three Leaving Certificate examinations – the traditional Leaving Certificate, the Leaving Certificate Applied and the Leaving Certificate Vocational Program – have had to register their subjects and the expected examination level .
Deputy Green Party leader TD Martin Martin said students in Gaeltacht and all-Irish schools who have to register for the English language examinations are being wronged.
“It is not fair or equitable that Gaeltacht students and Gaelcholáistí are forced to use an English portal and it is a sign of the depreciation of Irish as a daily spoken language for thousands of people.
“The availability of an Irish language version for those going through the education system in that language is vital, and I have sent a letter to Minister Joe McHugh to demand this,” she said.
County Councilor Peadar Ó Caomhánach, Irish language and Gaeltacht spokesperson for the Green Party, said it was unacceptable for the government to deny their language duties.
“As a former pupil of the Irish Medium Education system, I know I would be in a dilemma if the rules of the game were changed at the last minute. We understand the pressure on the Department of Education, but for thousands of pupils throughout the country, Irish is no longer just the language of the school, the home language and the administrative language of education. It is unacceptable for the State to deny its duties at this critical point. ”
The Department of Education stated that the lack of registration service in Irish was due to “time pressure” and that it intended the service to be available in both official languages.