Daltaí le Gaeilge

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Tá alt an-suimiúil ar Meon Eile.ie le Ciarán Dunbar, iar-eagarthóir Gaelscéal.(Dála an scéil, an bhfuil aon scéal ag Foras na Gaeilge faoi nuachtán Gaeilge eile mar chomharba Gaelscéal?)

Tugann Ciarán figiúirí faoi thorthaí GCSE agus A-Leibhéal sa Tuaisceart. Níl sé ródhóchasach: is é ‘Tóin ag titim amach as an Ghaeilge mar ábhar GCSE’ an teideal atá ar a alt. Ní dhearna ach 1936 dalta ó scoileanna Béarla GCSE Irish i gcomparáid le 2665 dalta i 2007. Ach tá méadú ar líon na ndaltaí a rinne GCSE Gaeilge- an scrúdú do Ghaelscoileanna - áfach. Bheadh méadú níos mó air sin fós dá mbeadh Meánscoil Ghaeilge i nDoire, Cathair an Chultúir, dar ndóigh. Cuireann sé agallamh ar mhúinteoirí áirithe a deir gur chóir amharc ar na dóigheanna a gcuirtear an teanga os comhair na ndaltaí. Agus tá an ceart acu.

Ar an drochuair, tá líon na ndaltaí atá ag déanamh teangacha ag titim i gcoitinne. Ach ba chóir dúinn a bheith ábalta líon na ndaltaí a dhéanann GCSE Irish a mhéadú. Tá siollabas nua de dhíth. Tá easpa samhlaíochta sa chúrsa mar atá sé.

Ní ceart an Ghaeilge a chur in aon bhosca amháin le teangacha eile. Tá níos mó i dteanga ná liosta focal agus rialacha gramadaí, cé go bhfuil na rudaí seo tábhachtach. Mealltar daoine i dtreo na Gaeilge leis an cheol go minic. Meallann an litríocht daoine eile. Cuireann daoine áirithe spéis i logainmneacha, nó in ainmneacha pearsanta. Uaireanta bíonn suim acu sa bhéaloideas. Spreagann cuairt ar an Ghaeltacht daoine go minic. Is mian le scoláirí stair na tíre a thuiscint níos fearr agus tosaíonn siad ag staidéar na teanga dá bharr. Ach is féidir le dalta GCSE Irish a fháil gan eolas ar bith ar ghnéithe seo na teanga. Ba chóir cultúr na tíre a chur os comhair na bpáistí in áit ceachtanna beaga amaideacha. Tá athbheochan na Gaeilge ag teastáil uainn. Ní hé GCSE Irish an bealach.

Ciarán Dunbar, the former editor of Gaelscéal, has a very interesting article on Meon eile.ie. By the way, has Foras na Gaeilge any news about another newspaper to succeed Gaelscéal?

Ciarán gives figures for GCSE and A-Level results in the North. He is not too optimistic: ‘The bottom falling out of GCSE Irish as a subject’ is the title of the article. Only 1936 pupils from English medium schools did GCSE Irish this year compared to 2665 pupils in 2007. However, there is an increase in the numbers doing GCSE Gaeilge- the Irish medium schools exam. There would be an even greater increase, of course, if there was an Irish medium secondary school in Derry, the City of Culture.

He interviews a number of teachers who say that we should look at the way Irish is presented to the pupils. And they are right.

Unfortunately, the number of pupils doing languages is falling generally. But we should be able to increase the number of pupils doing GCSE Irish. A new syllabus is needed. There is a lack of imagination in the present course. Irish should not be put in the same box as other languages. There is more to a language than vocabulary and grammar, although these are important. People are often attracted to Irish through music. The literature attracts others. Some people are interested in place names, or in personal names. Sometimes they are interested in folklore. A visit to the Gaeltacht is an incentive often. Students want a better understanding of the history of the country, and so they start studying the language. But a pupil can get GCSE Irish without knowing anything about these aspects of the language. The children should be presented with the culture of the country instead of silly little exercises. We need to revive the language. GCSE Irish is not the way.