17 February 2006

As school roll numbers fall, Irish education bucks trend


There has been a steady rise in the number of children attending Irish-medium schools and that increase has been hailed as a huge success by the chair of the Irish education body Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta.

This year is again in line with a 30-year trend in growth rates in the Irish-medium sector, said Seán Ó Coinn, Chief Executive of Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta .
“We have growth this year of almost 10 per cent, a figure which is in keeping with the constant gains the sector is making every year.”
Mr Ó Coinn said parents were seeing the benefits of Irish language education.
“It is evident that an increasing number of parents are choosing Irish-medium education for their children.
“Their reasons for sending their children to Irish-medium schools are numerous. Some have cited the education benefits of a bilingual education, the unique teaching environment and, of course, the opportunity to become fluent in Irish while gaining a deeper understanding of Gaelic culture and heritage. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that parents are continuing to vote with their feet and are choosing Irish-medium schools. In the North Belfast area alone there are two Irish-medium primary schools and four nursery schools and we look forward to further growth.”
For information on Irish-medium education contact Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta on 90321475 or email eolas@comhairle.org.

Journalist:: Staff Journalist

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