The recently launched Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017-2026 is a very welcome development according to Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), the association that represents 66 regulated language schools and colleges in Ireland.
The plan which was launched by Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D. sets out the steps required to put Ireland in the top ten countries in Europe for both teaching and learning a foreign language.
According to David O’Grady, CEO of Marketing English in Ireland, “The aim of getting Ireland into the top ten countries in Europe for both teaching and learning a foreign language, is an ambitious but important target. The plan sets to achieve this thorough measures targeted at improving proficiency, diversity and immersion and this is something that MEI and the entire language sector endorse.”
“The strategy document is hugely important in that it sets out the context for the importance of language teaching in Ireland. Throughout the decades Ireland has lagged behind our European and OECD counterparts in terms of prioritising the teaching of foreign languages. Traditionally Ireland has been an extremely popular place for students to come to Ireland to learn English, with students from Spain, Italy and France being the largest cohort.”
David O’Grady, CEO of MEI continued, “The focus by the Department and the various state agencies in setting out this strategy demonstrates the commitment of Government to prioritise this area. Recent pilot schemes in this area have proven to be successful and the inclusion of this strategy in the Minister’s Action Plan on Education, demonstrates the ambition that is contained in this strategy.”
“As an organisation, MEI fully supports the plan which aims to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe within ten years. Our 66 member schools and colleges invest heavily in education and training and catered for over 119,000 individual international students in 2016. Due to ongoing efforts to recruit in new markets by MEI, strong student numbers are expected to continue, as Ireland retains an excellent reputation as the leading destination in which to study English as a foreign language,” concluded David O’Grady, CEO of the Marking English in Ireland (MEI).