New BA degree programme in Gaoth Dobhair recognised by the Teaching Council

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

A new and innovative Irish-medium degree programme has just received a major boost with the news that it has received recognition from the Teaching Council of Ireland. The BA Riarachán Gnó (BA Business Administration) was launched by NUI Galway and Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) earlier this year. The programme will run at the Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge centre in Gaoth Dobhair, Co Donegal, starting in September 2008. Commenting on this new development, Éamonn Mac Niallais, Administrator of Ionad an Acadaimh i nGaoth Dobhair, said: "In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the employment opportunities that are available in organisations functioning through the medium of Irish or bilingually, both inside and outside the Gaeltacht. Graduates of this degree course can therefore realistically expect to have access to excellent employment opportunities. This latest development means that the programme fulfills the degree requirements for teachers seeking to register with the Teaching Council for the purpose of teaching Business at post-primary level. This will give graduates further options in their career prospects and increases the attractiveness of the course for prospective students". The BA Riarachán Gnó will be the first degree programme to be run at the NUI Galway centre in Gaoth Dobhair and it aims to provide graduates with the practical and analytical skills needed to work in a bilingual business and administration environment. President of NUI Galway, Dr James Browne, welcomed the news and added: "We are particularly delighted to be offering the BA sa Riarachán Gnó in conjunction with the Letterkenny Institute of Technology. In effect we are pooling our resources in a spirit of cooperation and partnership to provide a very attractive Irish-medium degree programme for the North-West". Mr Paul Hannigan, President of LYIT, also emphasized the importance of the collaboration between both third-level institutions in developing this new programme: "The LYIT School of Business has steadily gained widespread recognition for the excellence of its business courses and we currently have over 1,000 students between our undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Donegal has one of the largest Gaeltacht areas in the country and we are delighted to be collaborating with NUI Galway in providing a new Irish-medium business course, at degree level". Pádraig Ó hAoláin, Chief Executive of Údarás na Gaeltachta who are supporting the programme, said that this course was further evidence of the Údaras' commitment to the economic and linguistic development of the Gaeltacht. "We have seen a steady shift away from the traditional manufacturing industries, and employment in the Gaeltacht regions has suffered heavily as a result. We have to compete now in a global environment where higher levels of knowledge and skills are the key to success. Initiatives such as this degree course will enable Gaeltacht people to better equip themselves to face these new challenges, and to not only attract higher level industries but also to set up in business themselves." The fact that the course is available locally and is supported by Údarás makes it a lot easier for people to take on the challenge of obtaining a primary degree. Éamonn Mac Niallais has seen the evidence of this so far: "The course has proven to be particularly attractive for mature students who may not have had the chance to pursue third-level education earlier in life, or who want a change of career but lack the necessary qualifications. The support provided by Údarás na Gaeltachta and the advantages of living at home while studying for a degree programme, makes this a great opportunity for people to get their third-level degree and is of particular benefit to mature students with young children". Further information about the BA sa Riarachán Gnó can be attained at www.acadamh.ie or by contacting Ionad Ghaoth Dobhair at 074 9531919 or email gaothdobhair@oegaillimh.ie .
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