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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 25 July 2021
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Insufficient cash to add Chinese to second-level curriculum

Education minister Ruairí Quinn says the budgetary situation means we can’t expand the languages taught in second level.

Image: IvanWalsh.com via Flickr

MANDARIN CHINESE will not be added to the list of languages taught to Irish teenagers at second level – because government funding shortages mean the list cannot be expanded.

Education minister Ruairí Quinn says the government cash shortage means the current list of languages taught at second level, meaning Chinese will not be joining the subjects which can be taken at Leaving Cert level.

Currently Japanese and Arabic can be taken by students sitting the end-of-school exams, alongside European languages including French, German, Spanish, Italian and Russian.

In response to a Dáil query from Dublin North-Central independent TD Finian McGrath, Quinn said it was “not possible in the current budgetary situation” for the list to be expanded to include Chinese or any other languages.

“However, the availability of Transition Year and the option of school-developed short courses proposed as part of junior cycle reform will, in the future, give opportunities to schools to provide additional languages, including Mandarin Chinese, if they wish to do so.”

Mandarin Chinese is the world’s most-spoken language, with one billion native speakers. In 2010, the year for which the most recent statistics are available, Ireland exported goods and services to China worth €3.46 billion.

Snap decision: Should Ireland teach Chinese in schools?


Poll Results:

Yes - it should be optional for the Leaving Cert (587)
Yes - from primary level (190)
No - it shouldn't be taught at all (105)
Yes - it should be mandatory in secondary schools (65)
I don't know (20)





Previously: Should we all be learning Chinese? >

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Gavan Reilly

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