Mandarin Chinese is among the new subjects being rolled out for Leaving Cert students from next September, with the first exams in 2022.
t is one of four languages being added to the curriculum, with next year's fifth years also getting the opportunity to study Lithuanian, Polish and Portuguese in school for the first time.
Lithuanian, Polish and Portuguese are already examined in the Leaving Cert as non-curricular subjects, but from September they will be on the curriculum.
The three new European language subjects are designed for students with an existing knowledge of those languages, while Mandarin is aimed primarily at non-native speakers.
It's all part of a Government drive to boost language skills and support school-leavers, and graduates, to become global citizens equipped to work in a global economy.
Meanwhile, Computer Science and PE, currently being piloted in a limited number of schools, will also be available nationally to Leaving Cert students from next September.
It brings to 39 the number of subjects on the curriculum - it would have been 40 but with the revamped syllabuses in both Agricultural Science and Economics, current sixth-years are the last to do Agricultural Economics.
While the examinable subject in PE is optional, next September also sees the introduction of a new PE programme at senior cycle, aimed at ensuring all Leaving Cert students have an opportunity to study the sunject in some capacity.
It comes with a recommendation of one double class period per week being made available for the programme, which may also be taken by those who are studying the examinable PE subject.
The Department of Education has invited schools to submit expressions of interest in offering the new subjects, with a view to establishing the demand from teachers for upskilling and what other supports are needed.
Schools opting for Computer Science are required to have access to a minimum 100mb broadband and, according to the department, all post-primary schools have such access.