PPLI Annual Report 2018 - Flipbook - Page 3
I welcome this annual report by the Post-Primary Languages Initiative (PPLI), in the context of implementation
of Languages Connect Ireland’s Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017-2026. This strategy aims to
support the better learning of foreign languages in the Irish education system and to increase the diversity of
provision for the inherent benefits to individuals, society and the economy.
I congratulate PPLI on the significant and impressive body of work that they have successfully managed to
accomplish in this first year in the context of the strategy’s four overarching goals. The list is long and includes
the development of resources, support for innovation, facilitation of Communities of Practice, increasing numbers
of students going on school language exchanges, an audit of foreign languages provision in our schools, language
upskilling for teachers, the introduction of Polish and Lithuanian as short courses for Junior Cycle and Polish and
Korean as new TY modules, and most importantly increasing awareness of the importance of language learning
to encourage the wider use of foreign languages.
In the context of this awareness raising work, I had the pleasure of attending an event that PPLI facilitated in
November for Transition Year students and it was great to see so many of them have the opportunity to
experience the wide range of languages on show and learn about how having a foreign language can fit in with
their dream job.
In earlier years I was able to learn some Arabic during my time in Dubai so I appreciate the huge advantage this
gave me in terms of communicating with people in the local community. I also have a smattering of other
languages from my term as Minister of State for the Diaspora and Overseas Development and other ministries
and in the European plurilingual context all languages learned through life contribute to increasing our
understanding and appreciation of the diverse society we now live in.
As most of you will be aware, I am deeply committed to encouraging young people and adults to engage with
the Irish language and to use it in their everyday lives. In Ireland, being bilingual is a rich and important part of
our identity and culture, and being bilingual gives us a clear advantage in learning other languages. I recently
launched the CLIL initiative to integrate the teaching of subjects such as PE with Irish and foreign languages.
There is significant potential to teach subjects or elements of subjects with this method and I look forward to
seeing the results of this initiative and building on it.
Learning foreign languages is now a key priority, particularly with Brexit. Once the United Kingdom leaves the
European Union, Ireland will be one of only two English speaking countries in the Union. This Strategy is crucial
to ensuring Ireland is prepared for a changed European dynamic. Students should think hard about learning and
maintaining a foreign language so that Ireland can meet the increasing demands of a global economy.
Joe McHugh, TD
Minister for Education and Skills