A new Masters in Irish-Medium and Gaeltacht Education (M.Ed.) has recently been launched in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. This innovative postgraduate programme for primary and post-primary teachers was announced in order to add to the provision of teachers in the education system who teach through the medium of Irish. This teacher education programme represents another step in the implementation of the Gaeltacht Education Policy 2017-2022 and encompasses part of a greater national plan to tackle issues related to the supply of teachers.
This part-time M.Ed. degree is at Level 9 of the National Qualifications Framework, and is accredited by the University of Limerick. The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh T.D, signed a six-year contract, worth €2.1 million, for this postgraduate degree between Mary Immaculate College and the Department of Education and Skills.
The College must provide at least 70% of the programme in an institutional setting with face-to-face mechanisms, with a maximum of 30% of the provision to be online over the course of the two years of the M.Ed. programme. The provision of blended learning will enable teachers and principals participate in the programme.
In order to ensure that participants of the highest possible calibre and optimum suitability are participating in the programme, successful candidates must provide evidence that they have achieved Level B1 standard in Irish in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, an assessment which is externally accredited.
The President of Mary Immaculate College, Professor Eugene Wall said “In keeping with the mission of the College, Mary Immaculate College is deeply mindful of its responsibility to support and enrich pedagogical competencies, leadership and research in language immersion and Gaeltacht education. Mary Immaculate College is delighted to lead innovation in continuing professional development in this continuously evolving sector. We are very much looking forward to collaborating, in this work, with the Aonad um Oideachas Gaeltachta in the Department of Education and Skills and with all other stakeholders to provide an exceptional postgraduate, blended learning, cross-sectoral programme for the sector.”
Speaking at the launch, the Programme Director, Dr T.J. Ó Ceallaigh said: “Through a variety of perspectives from around the globe, the M. Oid. san Oideachas Lán-Ghaeilge agus Gaeltachta will explore why and how immersion/minority language education is blossoming and flourishing in a variety of contexts in the 21st century and how some models address common challenges. The blended learning nature and design of the programme not only provides the opportunity to host synchronous/asynchronous webinars with key international researchers but also presents flexible and innovative learning opportunities for postgraduate students who may not otherwise be afforded this opportunity.”