Minister McHugh attends #ThinkLanguages event for Transition Year Students

Government prioritises teaching of foreign languages in context of Brexit

Campaign to increase number of students taking foreign languages at Leaving Certificate

The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, T.D. today (Tuesday 20th November 2018) attended the #ThinkLanguages event for Transition Year (TY) students in Dublin Castle.  The event has been organised by the Post Primary Languages Initiative to increase awareness about the importance of language learning as set out in Languages Connect – Ireland’s Strategy for Foreign Languages in Education 2017 – 2026.

Students attending #ThinkLanguages come from schools all over the country including Donegal, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Limerick, Westmeath, Wicklow, and Dublin. The aim of the day is to show students how useful languages are for a wide variety of careers, and to encourage them to choose a language as one of their Leaving Certificate subjects.

The keynote speaker is James Hart, a Munster Rugby player, who has played for two French rugby clubs, Grenoble and the Parisian club Racing 92. Other inspirational speakers include Sgt McInerney from the Garda Diversity Unit and engineer Declan O’Loughlin, both of whom have careers that have benefitted from having great language skills.

All participants will experience what it is like to be at an international conference and be dependent on an interpreter, using the interpreting facilities in Dublin Castle Conference Centre. Other highlights will include entertainment by a Taiko drum team facilitated by Nobuko Ijichi and a tasting session of international cuisine. There will be quizzes on an app to facilitate engagement with videos which showcase the value of foreign languages for work, and which encourage students to get the most out of the day.

The event also includes an exhibition space, where students can speak to people about how to improve their languages, and discover how languages fit in with their dream job. 

The opportunity to experience two different taster workshops in foreign languages and cultural activities will be a highlight. The workshops are facilitated by experts and include Irish Sign Language, Spanish and Salsa, Portuguese Capoeira, Italian, Polish and Russian language taster classes, Japanese origami, Japanese dance, Chinese calligraphy and Politics and Languages.

Attending the event, Minister McHugh said “I am delighted to see so many Transition Year students here today to experience the wide range of languages on show.  I consider the learning of Foreign Languages as a key priority, particularly post-Brexit, and we all need to encourage our students to take up and continue learning foreign languages so that Ireland can meet the increasing demands of a global economy”.