Mary welcomed the launch this week of Fianna Fáils new Modern Language Policy aimed at ensuring Ireland gains full advantage in Global and European markets in a post-Brexit landscape.
Mary learned French and German at secondary school in St Dominics College Cabra and went on to earn a degree in Italian and German from UCD. Mary’s language skills helped her achieve significant success working in international sales and marketing in Europe and the US. Mary understands the benefits knowledge of another modern language brings. Mary believes it important in modern day Europe that everyone has an equal opportunity to be educated and equipped to live and work through another modern language. Most young German, Italian and French people can speak English, young Irish people should have the same language learning opportunities.
This policy recognizes the importance of modern languages to enable Ireland to trade successfully internationally, to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and in particular to take full advantage of the employment opportunities offered by multinational companies.
Ireland needs a robust policy on international languages – one that is dedicated, realistic and achievable. Unfortunately this Government has failed to provide any comprehensive vision that would transform modern language education in this country. Their decision to abolish the Modern Languages in Primary School Initiative can have only hampered language education and short-changes Irish young people.
Fianna Fáil’s policy document aims to overhaul the teaching of modern languages, to help cultivate lifelong language learning, to teach modern languages from an early age and ultimately equip us to live, work and have greater engagement with other cultures at home and abroad.
Our policy recommends the following:
- Promote bilingual immersion for three to five year-olds participating in the ECCE scheme in preschool
- Re-establish the Modern Languages in Primary School Initiative to help ensure children have a basic understanding of languages before entering secondary school
- Make the learning of an international language to Leaving Certificate compulsory
- Introduce new core languages such as Russian and Portuguese to the Junior Certificate cycle to broaden the options to available to students
- Roll out Mandarin as a full Leaving Certificate exam subject and award additional points to learners taking it at Higher Level
- Enhance teacher training for modern languages
- Subsidise additional in-service courses overseas for secondary teachers to aid their understanding of language teaching
This policy seeks to strategically address the deficit in our education system and ensure Ireland is well placed to succeed globally and deal with the fallout associated with Brexit.