Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №11/2003



Irish influence on Western education began 14 centuries ago. From the 6th to the 8th century, when western Europe was largely illiterate, nearly 1000 Irish missionaries traveled to England and the Continent to teach Christianity. During the early Middle Ages, Irish missionaries founded monasteries that achieved extensive cultural influence; the monastery at Sankt Gallen (Saint Gall), Switzerland, is especially famous for its contributions to education and literature. Classical studies flowered in ancient Ireland. Distinctive also at the time were the bardic schools of writers and other learned men who traveled from town to town, teaching their arts to students. The bardic schools, an important part of Irish education, were suppressed in the 16th century by Henry VIII, king of England. University education in Ireland began with the founding of the University of Dublin, or Trinity College, in 1592. The National University of Ireland, established in 1908 in Dublin, has constituent university colleges in Cork, Dublin, and Galway; another leading college is Saint Patrick’s College (1795), in Maynooth, affiliated with the National University. The Irish language has been taught in all government-subsidized schools since 1922, but fewer than 10,000 pupils speak it as their first language. Ireland has a free public school system, with attendance compulsory for all children between 6 and 15 years of age. In the late 1980s some 574,000 pupils were enrolled annually in about 3440 elementary schools. Secondary schools, primarily operated by religious orders and largely subsidized by the state, numbered nearly 600, with an annual enrollment of approximately 234,000. Yearly enrollment at universities and colleges totaled about 59,500. Ireland also has several state-subsidized training colleges, various technical colleges in the larger communities, and a network of winter classes that provide agricultural instruction for rural inhabitants.

Ireland has very old traditions in the field of education, which go back to the Medieval times, when the Irish monks were one of the main enlightens, the best keepers of knowledge. Trinity College in Dublin is one of the oldest universities in the world. The traditions have been successfully survived. Recently the high quality of Irish education is internationally recognized, more and more people abroad want to come and to study in Ireland.

The school year in Ireland is from September till June. Primary school lasts 8 years, then come 6 years of secondary school and the students have to pass the Living Certificate examination. This certificate shows that the students’ skills are good enough to enter a college or a university. Each college has its own requirements to the applicants. Usually 20 persons apply for everyone university seat. The Irish students are accepted by colleges and universities through the Central Application Office. Each year Irish colleges and universities accept a number of foreign students, among which are some Russian students as well.

English language courses are the most popular among the foreign students. There are more than 150 language schools all over Ireland and a variety of programs. Some of them are for young children and offer a good mix of learning and entertainment, like sightseeing, sports, and cultural activities. Professionals and businessmen can choose an individual program that fits their plans. The quality of teaching can be compared only with the quality of education in the British schools. Don’t forget, English is a mother tongue for most of the Irish. However, the Irish accommodations, despite good quality, are cheaper than the British.

My own opinion is that Ireland is an ideal place to spend vacations, especially in summer. Mild climate (not hot like that in Moscow), unspoiled nature is a perfect environment to relax and get new powers in. The Irish language schools offer a long list of sports – golf, diving, horseriding, cycling, tennis, many team games. Cultural activities include part-day and all-day excursions to the main tourist attractions, like castles, observing animals (probably the most popular is a dolphin named Fungie in Dingle who greets people, who come to visit him in boats). Many of my friends have travelled to Ireland. They all were speaking about the nice, friendly people, whom they stayed with, the beautiful nature, and all of them have good English now. If you have questions, you can mail me – grainne@online.ru.

By Xenia Gerasimova