NUI Galway’s Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, the Irish Language college based in Connemara, has been guaranteed €3 million in funding.
The three year package will see Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge receive €1 million for each academic year, starting this year, which is €300,000 per annum more than the last three year budget.
Up to 2,000 students attend the wide range of undergraduate, postgrad, diploma, and teacher training courses provided through Irish for native speakers at the Gaeltacht centres in Gaoth Dobhair, Carna and An Cheathrú Rua.
Minister for the Gaeltacht Catherine Martin said “I am encouraged by the number of students from the Gaeltacht who go on to university and are able to do so in their native language in centres located in the Gaeltacht.”
The thousands of students who go to the Acadamh each year are proof that the department’s investment is being put to good use.
“The additional funding announced today will help in a practical way to further strengthen the Irish language infrastructure in the Gaeltacht,” Minister Martin added.
As part of the work programme agreed with the Acadamh, a person with a PhD in Early Education or a related field will be hired to hold workshops in the Gaeltacht Centres.
They will also seek to develop modules for the BA in Early Education to support training of early education practitioners working in naíonraí in the Gaeltacht and beyond.
Professor Breandán Mac Suibhne, the Acadamh’s Director of Studies, said that early education is particularly important in language planning.
“With this additional funding, NUI Galway will be able to better support those already working in playschools. And it will be able to provide a training system to help those entering the early education sector to identify and overcome linguistic challenges.”
“We are very grateful to the Minister and to the Minister of State and to all the staff of the Department for allowing us to play a central role in the development of this important sector.”