First primary teacher training course for deaf
The first primary teacher training course in Ireland for deaf sign language users starts next September at Dublin City University (DCU).
Graduates of the Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree programme will be qualified to teach in schools for the deaf and special classes for deaf pupils in mainstream schools.
Crucially for this cohort, the pre-requisite for Leaving Cert higher-level Irish - a condition for entry to a primary teaching degree programme - is being replaced with a requirement for a similar standard in Irish Sign Language (ISL), the language used by deaf people in Ireland and one of a number of different styles internationally.
Education Minister Joe McHugh described the course as "historic" and "a hugely important step towards ensuring increased access and inclusion for all in the classroom".
DCU Institute of Education's Executive Dean Dr Anne Looney said it meant that children who accessed learning and expressed themselves through ISL could be taught by teachers who did the same "and who will be fantastic role models for deaf students in our education system".
There will be about six places on the course this autumn, with no further intake until 2023. Students will attend core modules with hearing peers in the BEd programme, while modules specific to deaf education will be delivered as a specialism.