USI says everyone should go to the Gaeltacht to learn Irish

The union says how the language is taught needs to be changed

USI, irish, Gaeilge, Leaving Cert, teaching, schools, Gaeltacht

The Tricolour Irish national flag flies over Aras an Uachtarain | Image:

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is calling for a change in the way the Irish language is taught at primary, secondary and third-level.

The union's annual congress passed a motion for a report that would set out a "progressive, comprehensive, and multilateral strategy" over the teaching of Irish at primary and post-primary level.

USI say there have been long-term failures surrounding the teaching of Irish, as well as the lack of a united and collaborative effort to find a solution.

Union president Kevin Donoghue said: "The way Irish is taught in schools isn't working".

"There needs to be more of an emphasis on the spoken language. Fluency is best reached through submersion, which is why we're recommending all students go to the Gaeltacht".

"USI is concerned about the teaching of the Irish language at secondary level in Ireland and noted that many students believe that the Irish language is not 'taught as a language' and that too much focus is put on literature instead of the oral practice".

The USI believes that teaching of Irish 'as a language' would give students a greater degree of fluency.

The union says changes in the Leaving Certificate "are going in the right direction", but need to be improved for it to be a more attractive subject to students.

"While Irish students across the country are patriotic and proud of their native language, it is not as widely spoken across the Ireland as it should be", Mr Donoghue added.