You may now turn over your answer sheets and complete the following exercise: The Minister for Education Caitriona Ruane is right to invest in Irish Medium Schools and Jim Shannon MP should be commended for addressing the ‘Mother of Parliaments’ in Ullans. Discuss.
Once you have completed that exercise take a step back into the real world and try to use the language that is common to many people in the world…that would be Mandarin or Urdu then? Errrr well English will have to suffice.
The language issue in schools raised its head last week when Ms Ruane announced that four Irish Medium Schools were given conditional approval to open, with most opening doors in September.
The Minister insisted she was only doing her statutory duty to meet parents’ demands.
Meanwhile prospective UUP leadership challenger, Tom Elliott, claimed that there were 830 empty desks in the Irish Medium sector, with a massive increase in the capital expenditure in the sector.
Education committee chairman Mervyn Storey was equally bemused by the decision, saying that there was a dichotomy between the Minister claiming there was no budget for other schools capital schemes and the announcement of four new Irish Medium schools.
Now, education has hardly been a sea of calm discussion at the best of times, but there does seem to be a wee bit of strangeness going on when there is a list of schemes left swinging in the proverbial wind – presumably with parents equally demanding of development – and four new schools opening.
There is a concept that may seem radical to some in Government. It is called ‘prioritisation’. We suggest that this drastic concept be adopted and that the Minister, together with politicians of all shades of opinion, gather together in a tranquil discussion, with measured advice from senior officials.
Then we realised that such a suggestion may confuse MLAs involved in education debates. Words like, calm, tranquil, and measured seem to have been deleted from their dictionaries. And with budgets as they are, it is unlikely that new dictionaries will be bought any time soon…unless they are Irish Medium dictionaries.