Sunday 22 October 2017

Mandarin on the menu for new era of languages in our schools

Education Minister Richard Bruton at the INTO congress. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Education Minister Richard Bruton at the INTO congress. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Leaving Certificate students will be able to study Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese in school under a 10-year strategy on foreign languages being announced by Education Minister Richard Bruton today.

The global economy, Brexit and the influx of immigrants to Ireland means that the traditional foreign language subjects of French, Spanish and German are no longer considered to be enough.

There is no fixed timeline for the roll-out of the new Leaving Cert languages, but the hope is that it could be achieved over the next five years.

Among the ideas being explored to support the strategy is teaching aspects of the primary curriculum through Irish and foreign languages.

It is hoped that this would equip young learners with transferable language skills.

The strategy commits to having all junior cycle pupils studying a foreign language by 2021.

Irish Independent

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