The esteemed Dónal Ó hAiniféin is set to tackle the controversial subject of immersion education at Conradh na Gaeilge's annual Lecture in the Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street, Dublin 2 Tuesday night, 22 April 2008 at 8.00pm - but the Minister of Education will not be present.
Ó hAiniféin, a past President of Gaelscoileanna Teoranta and current principal of Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Cíosóg, will be the guest-speaker at the Lecture and is certain to address the immersion education debate with great insight and information as he has recently concluded key research on the methods of total early immersion education in Ireland as part of an M.A. in the teaching of languages with Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, National University of Ireland, Galway.
But in spite of the fact that the NCCA, COGG, INTO, Irish-language organisations across the country and even the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Education and Science have all advised Minister Hanafin that research at home in Ireland must be conducted before any attempt is made too introduce the Education Department's circular 0044/2007, and despite Ó hAiniféin's specialising in the field of immersion education in Ireland, the Minister for Education and Science will not be at this important lecture, nor has the Conradh been informed of any representative from the Department of Education coming in her place.
Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh, President of Conradh na Gaeilge: "It is disgraceful that there will not be a single representative from the Department of Education present at the Conradh's Lecture on immersion education. The Minister for Education would do well to listen to what the experts and general public alike have to say on the subject instead of pushing ahead with her campaign against total early immersion education that has no sound foundation in research or reason."
Mr Ó hAiniféin will be speaking about immersion education as a part of the Irish schooling system in the past, in the present and in the future at Conradh na Gaeilge's Lecture and will discuss methods of total early immersion education in Ireland in the context of international research carried out on the subject so far, as well as the need to conduct more research at home.
Dónal Ó hAiniféin, the guest-speaker for this year's Conradh na Gaeilge Lecture said: "I will refer to research conducted on immersion education at home and abroad to date, to the research that is still to be done, and to the role immersion education has to play in this country's education system in the future, particularly in relation to the language-promotion objectives as set out in the Government's statement on the Irish language in December 2006. I will most definitely be inviting questions and comments from the floor on the night, either favouring or disagreeing with what I will have to say, because what this matter needs more than anything else is some open and honest discussion and debate."
David Little's bilingual booklet entitled "The Future of Languages in Irish Education: Policy, Curriculum, Pedagogy" will also be launched on the night.
Dáithí Mac Cárthaigh
President, Conradh na Gaeilge.
01 4757401 / 087 2368364
Julian de Spáinn,
General Secretary, Conradh na Gaeilge.
01 4757401 / 086 8142757