Japanese language education and teachers’ association in Ireland
In the Irish education system, Japanese Studies formally started in 1987 when a course on business and Japanese language was created as a degree course at Dublin City University (then the National Institute of Higher Education). From the academic year of 2002-2003, Japanese was added to the official subjects of the Leaving Certificate, the final examination in the Irish secondary school system. This not only contributed to the increase of the number of students studying Japanese, but also its geographical expansion. With the establishment of courses at four other universities, Ireland now boasts the second highest percentage per capita of students studying Japanese in Europe. Meanwhile, the Japanese Language Teachers of Ireland (JLTI), a teachers’ organisation, was formed in 2000. Membership of the JLTI is a mixture of teachers from secondary schools and universities, and those who teach privately, and its uniqueness is that unlike teachers’ organisations in many European countries, almost half of its members are secondary school teachers. This presentation explores some of the history of Japanese language education in Ireland and the development of the teachers’ association. It also points out some prospects for Japanese language education in Ireland as well as some of the challenges that its teachers’ association faces.
Dr. Keiko Inoue is a member of staff at the Trinity Centre for Asian Studies, Trinity College Dublin, where she teaches Japanese for both undergraduate students and general public. Born and brought up in Tokyo, she originally came to Ireland as a postgraduate student in modern Irish history, and received a Ph.D. from Trinity College Dublin. She is a member of the Association of Japanese Language Teachers in Europe (AJE) and the Japanese Language Teachers of Ireland (JLTI), and is currently the Chairperson of the Japanese Language Teachers of Ireland.