17 March, 2021 - Minister Foley welcomes positive evaluation of Gaeltacht e-Hub Pilot Project

The Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has today welcomed the publication of an evaluation report on the implementation of the Gaeltacht e-Hub Pilot Project, which was recently completed by the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) Northern Ireland.

Minister Foley said: “I am delighted that the independent ETI evaluation found the e-Hub Pilot Project to be highly effective.”

The purpose of the three-year e-Hub Pilot Project, which commenced in schools in 2019, is to utilise online blended-learning delivery to extend the subject range available through the medium of Irish to students in Gaeltacht post-primary schools, starting with higher-level Leaving Certificate Physics.

“I wish to commend the Gaeltacht e-Hub Pilot Project as an excellent example of innovation and congratulate all those involved in the provision of this excellent e-Hub Project. I pay special tribute to the students and their parents for their participation in the project, and commend the efforts of the e-Teachers and e-Mentors and the co-operation of principals and staff in the receiver schools.

“I note the conclusions of the ETI Report that the success of the e-Hub Pilot Project demonstrates the potential for more extensive online collaboration across Irish-medium post-primary schools in Gaeltacht areas.

“This excellent report reflects the commitment and dedication of all involved in the project. I wish all students studying higher-level Leaving Cert Physics in the project, the very best with their ongoing studies.”

The evaluation found the project to be efficient in enabling students in Gaeltacht post-primary schools to study Leaving Certificate Physics through the medium of Irish using online learning. The ETI reported that it is a successful project, which is fit for purpose, well resourced, and managed effectively by the Department of Education and its agencies, H2 Learning, the e-Teachers in the two e-Hub provider schools, and the e-Mentors in the eight receiver schools.

The report found that e-Hub Pilot Project facilitated the creation of a safe digital learning environment for students which supports collaborative teaching and learning and has helped strengthen Irish-medium educational provision in post-primary schools in Gaeltacht areas.

Currently there are three e-Teachers based in two e-Hub schools - Coláiste na Coiribe in Galway and Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne in Kerry – delivering the Leaving Certificate course to 22 students in eight Gaeltacht post-primary receiver schools (including three island schools) under the supervision of e-Mentors.

Two students from the first cohort of participating students completed the Leaving Certificate in 2020, while up to six students are expected to complete the Leaving Certificate in 2021 and up to 16 students are due to complete the Leaving Certificate in 2022.

The ‘Independent Evaluation of the Gaeltacht e-Hub Pilot Project’ published report can be found here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/e1a72-independent-evaluation-of-the-gaeltacht-e-hub-pilot-project/

 

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  • Under Support Pillar 1 of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022, Strengthening the Structure of Educational Provision, the establishment of a hub school or e-school with virtual classrooms was recommended as an option for extending the range of curricular choices available to students in small post-primary schools.
  • The three year e-Hub pilot project has been developed and implemented to achieve the objective of this recommendation in the Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022.
  • E-Teachers are teachers who are based in e-Hub schools and who have been trained up to deliver the project in schools.
  • E-Mentors are teachers who are based in receiver schools and who facilitate project implementation in receiver schools, including supervising students who are  participating in the project.
  • All participating schools have received additional resources to support project implementation, including additional teaching hours to support the release of e-Teachers and e-Mentors along with grants for the purchase of digital equipment.
  • All schools participating in the e-Hub pilot project are also participating in the Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme