The principal of Owning National School has criticised the government’s decision to withdraw the Modern Language’s Initiative from primary schools.
Patrick O’Gorman called the government decision to cut funding for the initiative ‘short-sighted,’ despite the fact that Owning National School will continue to teach its students German.
“The cut to the initiative isn’t going to affect us but it is a short-sighted cut,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“If we want children to have a European language, the earlier we start the better.”
Although Owning National school is lucky enough to have a teacher who speaks fluent German to continue the languages programme, without the funding other schools in Kilkenny will not be so lucky.
Scoil Mhuire Presentation Primary School on Parnell Street will lose the support for its French programme, as will St Brendan’s National School in Hugginstown.
Marymount National School will be losing funding for its Spanish programme, as will Kilkenny School Project on the Waterford Road.
Education Minister Ruairí Quinn said he had given a lot of thought before implementing the cut.
“Participation in foreign languages, relative to other subjects, remains high. The vast majority of students are studying two languages and are therefore developing core skills which will serve them well in future language learning over the life span, and there are many opportunities outside the second-level system for people to resume language learning,” Minister Quinn said.
“It was not an easy decision to end this scheme, but I gave careful consideration to the concerns about the teaching of languages before taking it,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Education said the full-year savings from this cut would amount to €2.5 million.
These savings will go towards the cost of implementing the new National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy, according to the department.
Mr O’Gorman said that the cuts that were really going to affect the operation of the schools were still to come.
“The cuts in Special Need Assistants is hitting us much more than this will and if there is an increase in pupil-teacher ratio the effect on us will be much worse,” he said.
This Friday night at 8pm, a meeting will be held by parents, teachers and others worried about how cuts in education are affecting small rural primary schools in South Tipperary and South Kilkenny will be held in the Carraig Hotel in Carrick-on-Suir.