New opportunity for third level students to spend three months in the Gaeltacht
Minister of State Seán Kyne announces new funding worth €250,000
The establishment of a new fund worth €250,000 has been announced today, 13 May, by the Government Chief-Whip and Minister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands Seán Kyne T.D., in which third level students will be provided the opportunity to live with Gaeltacht families for three months while attending a third level qualification course for the duration of an entire semester.
Under the new funding launched today by the Minister of State Kyne in Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, ÓEG, Carna, a subsidy worth €17 per day will be provided enabling third level institutions to offer a semester in the Gaeltacht to their students. The subsidy will be payable to families who are qualified under the Department’s Irish Language Learner’s Scheme. This aid amounts to a subsidy worth up to €1,428 per student and will be payable to families who provide accommodation.
This measure is expected to accommodate up to 175 students – which is to be initiated for the first time under the implementation of measures 2.13, 2.15 and 2.19 of the Government’s Action Plan 2018-2022 for the Irish Language, which was launched in June 2018.
The three-month language immersion period will be directed towards third level students:
- who have Irish as a core subject in their University student programme (for example B.A. in Irish or B. Comm with Irish) or:
- for whom Irish is not a core student subject but who require a high level of competency in Irish in order to work in professions in the public service in particular, in which it is critical to ensure engagement with the Irish speaking community through Irish.
The Minister of State said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to announce this new funding in further supporting third level students across Ireland to further enrich their Irish through spending three months living with Gaeltacht families while they are attending a qualification course in the Gaeltacht. The Gaeltacht areas are the Irish Language’s native domain and as a result of this measure up to 175 students a year will have the opportunity to access immersion in Irish – which will be of benefit both to the Irish Language and the Gaeltacht. Of course this will also help to further develop the state system’s capacity in attending to the extra demands on services that are provided through Irish at present and in the future. For many years students learning languages have had the opportunity to spend time immersed in a target language while studying abroad on Erasmus. A fund will now be available for the first time which will help students to spend an entire semester in the Gaeltacht”.
The Department intends to ensure as far as is possible – in collaboration with those who will be organising the Gaeltacht semesters – that various Gaeltacht areas will benefit from this measure.