Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Wednesday 7 June 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Sam Boal via
'A historic development': New Irish Sign Language primary teaching degree being launched
The new Bachelor of Education programme is the first of its kind in Ireland.

A NEW UNDERGRADUATE programme in DCU that enables Deaf and hard of hearing people who use Irish Sign Language (ISL) to enter primary teaching is being launched today. 

The new Bachelor of Education programme is the first of its kind in Ireland. 

It will be provided by DCU’s Institute of Education from this September and applications are now invited through the current CAO process, which is closing on 1 February. 

The new pathway into the course is being introduced initially on a pilot basis from September with six places available, with subsequent intakes of students scheduled for September 2023 onwards. 

Until now, there has been no entry route to primary teacher education for someone who communicates through ISL and cannot meet the minimum entry requirement for Irish in the Leaving Certificate. 

The B.Ed will be open to students who have come through schools for the Deaf or special classes and have taken the Leaving Certificate using ISL and want to teach. It will also be open to mature students. 

While entry to the course is exclusively for members of the Deaf community who wish to become primary school teachers working in the deaf education sector, core modules will be delivered along with hearing peers in the B.Ed programme. 

Modules specific to deaf education will be delivered separately. 

Some deaf education-specific modules will be made available as electives to hearing student-teachers. 

Explaining the background of the course, executive dean of DCU’s Institute of Education Dr Anne Looney said: “The new course means that children who access learning and express themselves through Irish Sign Language can be taught by teachers who do the same and who will be fantastic role models for Deaf students in our education system. 

Traditionally, the languages needed to enter primary teaching have been English and Irish. Now, ISL gets its full recognition and equal status as a path to primary teaching. 

The full-time four-year undergraduate course also includes a 30-week school placement. 

Announcing the programme, Minister for Education Joe McHugh said: “This new degree programme for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing to become teachers is a hugely important step towards ensuring increased access and inclusion for all in the classroom. 

It is a historic development. 

“It will open the door to a world of teaching both for young people who use Irish Sign Language but also for people who want to teach through sign.”

 The programme is receiving funding from the Department of Education under the Path 1 inclusion programme. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment

    Leave a commentcancel