Ireland has long had experience of ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity but the 2000s saw a dramatic escalation in immigration with notable challenges in the educational and cultural domains. Bilingualism has been a feature of Irish education since the foundation of the state as has the presence of the Traveller community and minority religious groups. The Department of Education has published an Intercultural Education Strategy 2010-2015, the goals of which include enabling the adoption of a whole institution approach, building the capacity of education providers to develop an intercultural learning environment, supporting students to become proficient in the language of instruction, encouraging partnership, engagement and effective communication between education providers, students, parents and communities and promoting and evaluating data gathering and monitoring so that policy and decision making is evidence based. (http://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/Intercultural-Education-Strategy/mig_intercultural_education_strategy.pdf) .
The Department has issued guidelines on Traveller education in second-level schools in Ireland, underpinned by the intention to foster conditions conducive to pluralism in society and to raise cultural awareness. The full text is available for download:
The responsibility for intercultural education lies with the educational policy-makers at the national level. One of the specific aims of senior-cycle education is “to educate for participative citizenship at local, national, European and global levels”.
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment published Intercultural Guidelines for Primary Schools in 2005 (http://m.into.ie/roi/infoforteachers/socialinclusion/interculturaleducation/NCCAInterculturalGuidelines.pdf) and for the post-primary sector in 2006:
The Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) has also published Intercultural Guidelines for Schools. The full text is available for download:
The National Youth Council of Ireland runs an Intercultural Youth Programme which inter alia seeks to embed diversity in youth work, promote good practice, and assist with intercultural policy development and the design of intercultural programmes.
See also chapter 2.5.4.