Caitear amhras mór ar stádas na Gaeilge mar ábhar éigeantach sa chéad tuarascáil atá foilsithe ag an NCCA mar chuid dá n-athbhreithniú ar leagan amach na hArdteiste.
Mar chuid den tuarascáil nua rinneadh suirbhé i measc daltaí, múinteoirí agus tuismitheoirí chun a dtuairimí a fháil faoi scrúdú na hArdteiste agus údar imní a bheidh i gcuid dá bhfuil sa tuarascáil chéanna do dhaoine atá buartha faoi impleachtaí an athbhreithnithe do stádas na Gaeilge sa chóras oideachais.
Meastar go gcuirfidh an t-athbhreithniú de chuid na Roinne Oideachais agus na Comhairle Náisiúnta Curaclaim agus Measúnachta ceist na Gaeilge éigeantaí i lár an aonaigh athuair agus is beag atá sa chéad tuarascáil a bhréagnódh an tuairim sin.
Deirtear sa tuarascáil go raibh “frustrachas” ar dhaltaí mar gurb éigean dóibh ábhair áirithe á dhéanamh agus gurbh í an Ghaeilge an t-ábhar is mó a luadh sa phlé sin faoinar cheart d’aon ábhar a bheith ina ábhar éigeantach don Ardteist.
Tugtar dhá shampla sa tuarascáil den ‘fhrustrachas’ sin agus den mheon nach bhfuil fiúntas ag baint le hábhair áirithe.
It’s strange how they’re mandatory even though they’re the least useful subjects that you’re gonna do in school, because you’re never gonna need English, Irish, or maths unless you’re, like, becoming, like, a mathematician or an Irish historian, but you are gonna need the other ones, even though they’re not mandatory. (Boys, non-DEIS)
They’re teaching you stuff that you won’t need, like, you might not need, and it’s useless and you know, like, what you want to be — and then you won’t, like, be doing anything about it…Like, some of the stuff they teach you in school, you’re not gonna use, like, when you grow up. And they don’t really teach you anything that you will use when you leave school.
Deirtear sa tuarascáil freisin gur thug thart ar 25% de na scoileanna a ghlac páirt sa taighde le fios gur chóir líon na n-ábhar a dhéantar don Ardteist a laghdú.
Thart ar 25% a thug le fios chomh maith nár cheart d’aon ábhar a bheith éigeantach “as some students struggled with the ‘core’ subjects”.
Tugtar dhá shampla in Senior Cycle Review: Analysis of discussions in schools on the purpose of senior cycle education in Ireland mar léiriú ar an dearcadh sin.
I am not sure I agree with core subjects for LC at all. If nobody wants to study Irish, why do they have to? If a person hates Maths or English, why do they have to continue with it? I think this is worth debating now, as it is unlikely that LC will be changed again at any point soon. The school experience is much better in subjects that the students actually have an interest in. (Boys, DEIS)
Forcing students to continue with subjects they have no interest in or talent for is not constructive. (Coeducational, DEIS)
Tugtar suntas sa tuarascáil freisin do dhaltaí a labhair amach “go láidir” i gcoinne na Gaeilge éigeantaí agus deirtear gur bhraith na daltaí sin “that they should be allowed to pick subjects that they feel will be useful to them in the future”.
Tugtar sampla den mheon sin sa tuarascáil:
If someone doesn’t want to do Irish, I don’t think they should be forced to, like — I personally — I don’t know Irish, but just, like, from people in my class that I know, that I talk to, they don’t like Irish. And they said they’re, like, sitting there and they’re not listening because they don’t want to do it and they could be doing some other subject that was beneficial to them. Like, do you know? I just think it should be optional.” (Girls, non-DEIS)
Tugtar sampla chomh maith de thuairimí daltaí eile “[who] raised the issue of compulsory Irish at senior cycle suggesting that students should have a choice as to whether they do Irish as an exam subject”.
They should make it non-compulsory… because there’s other students who are not good at Irish, so, it’s easier for them to get on well in the Leaving Cert. Because apparently more people speak Polish than Irish in Ireland, so, they need to be changed here. (Boys, non-DEIS)
Chuir daltaí eile in iúl gur bhain “frustrachas” le bheith ag foghlaim dánta Gaeilge ‘de ghlanmheabhair’ agus dúirt siad gurbh fhearr leo dá mbeadh béim níos mó ar an nGaeilge labhartha:
I don’t see the point of learning off poems and stories. It’s about keeping the language alive. I know it’s our native language. It should be more speaking the language — getting to know verbs, tenses, all that — but I don’t see the point of learning poems. (Coeducational, non-DEIS)
Deirtear gur thrácht daltaí eile ar an tábhacht a bhain le deis a thabhairt dóibh taitneamh a bhaint as foghlaim na Gaeilge, seachas an teanga a bheith mar “another source of pressure for the exam”. Tugtar sampla chomh maith den dearcadh sin sa tuarascáil:
I wouldn’t be able to go out and speak — like, have a conversation with someone in Irish and I think that needs to be emphasised more because, it’s — like, it’s so important in the country, to keep it alive and I think it’s put — there’s so much pressure put on it in, like, you’re learning poetry and essays and stuff like that whereas, it should be — enjoy it, like, you should be enjoying the subject because it’s, like, part of who we are. (Girls, non-DEIS)
Seachas na dtuairimí dearfacha sin faoi thábhacht na Gaeilge féin, má léirigh aon duine an tuairim gur cheart go mbeadh an Ghaeilge ina hábhar éigeantach, níl aon sampla den dearcadh sin tugtha sa tuarascáil.
Cuirfear na tuairimí a léirítear sa tuarascáil seo san áireamh agus cinneadh á dhéanamh amach anseo faoi chóras na hArdteiste a leasú.
Tá sé i gceist scagadh níos mó a dhéanamh ar na téamaí a tháinig chun tosaigh sa tuarascáil “around the appropriate structure of the senior cycle curriculum” sa chéad chuid eile den phróiseas comhairliúcháin atá ar bun ag an NCCA mar chuid dá n-athbhreithniú ar struchtúr na Ardteiste.
Beidh ceist na Gaeilge éigeantaí lárnach sa phlé sin, de réir chonclúid na tuarascála:
Many teachers, students and parents emphasised the need for more flexibility in course offering at senior cycle through the provision of short courses and/or through providing a broader range of subjects which foster practical or creative skills. Allied to this, many parents and students argued against having compulsory subjects at senior cycle level, feeling that young people should be free to select subjects which best suit their interests and abilities. A significant minority of each group argued that students should be required to take fewer senior cycle subjects or that the content of courses should be reduced in volume in order to relieve time pressure and provide greater opportunities for more engaging approaches to learning. Many of the issues around the appropriate structure of the senior cycle curriculum will be explored in greater detail in the second cycle of the consultation process.