§ Mr. GINNELL
asked what encouragement, if any, is given by the Board of National Education to students entering, the training colleges who have a knowledge of the Irish language or ability to teach it; whether such knowledge or ability is an essential qualification for admission to any one of those colleges or essential at any part of the course; and whether that course comprises any other Irish educational subject which is similarly treated by the Commissioners?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Commissioners of National Education offer encouragement to King's scholars entering training colleges who have a knowledge of the Irish language by awarding annually prizes to those who, at the close of their final year of training, pass the examination generally and obtain a certificate of competency to teach Irish. The prize winners are eligible for a further award if subsequently reported to have shown high merit in the teaching of Irish for two consecutive years. A knowledge of Irish is not an essential qualification for admission to a training college, nor is it essential at any part of the training college course. It is, however, an optional subject, and credit is given for any marks obtained in it as such, at the entrance examination. The only distinctively Irish educational subject in the-King's scholars' curriculum is the Irish language. Latin and French, as well as Irish, are optional subjects, but Irish is the only one of these languages for which prizes are offered.