Plans for Leaving Cert Irish students in Gaelscoileanna to be examined differently to those in English-speaking schools have been slammed.
Conradh na Gaeilge has sharply criticised the plans, saying students wouldn't want to study a course they know is more difficult - especially if there were no bonus CAO points to be gained.
The proposal was contained in NCCA draft specifications for revised Irish Leaving Cert exams.
The plans would see students in Irish-language schools study a course called L1, which would be a more difficult course than the standard Irish LC one.
It would be “aimed at native speakers and learners in Gaeltacht schools, and students in the sector that operate through the Irish language.”
Students in English-language schools would also have the option to take the course.
However, there'd be a separate Leaving Cert syllabus (L2) as standard in schools where Irish is a second rather than primary language.
A consultation process on the plans ended last month, with a report on the feedback due to be published early next year.
However, Julian de Spáinn from Conradh na Gaeilge told Newstalk Breakfast the proposal makes no sense - describing it as “craiceáilte” (mad or zany).
He said: “Nobody seems to be agreeing with it.
“Basically what they’re suggesting… is a [course] specifically geared towards Gaeltacht and Gaelcolaisti outside the Gaeltacht. It will be a more difficult course than what other students will follow, and there’ll be no compensation for it.
“Why would anybody take a course that’s harder when the Leaving Cert is geared towards points?”
He believes the change could do “huge damage” if it isn’t changed.
He observed: “The students do look at what they’re going to do in third level, and looking at the points and other subjects they have to do.
“They’re [also] going to get rid of foundation level in this proposal as well, which obviously caters for students who might find Irish more difficult… that doesn’t make sense.”
Julian’s own group has put forward a number of alternative proposals for how Irish should be treated during the senior cycle.
He explained: “One option is to have four levels at Leaving Cert. Have foundation, ordinary and higher level that any student can choose, but also have advanced level as well. With advanced level… you would have bonus marks for that made available.
“Bonus points were brought in for maths to encourage more people to do the higher level - it wasn’t for a more difficult course.
“A second option would be to have two [Irish] subjects at Leaving Cert - including something that would be more literature and accuracy focused.”