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Public sector primary schools

Is EYL taught as an official part of the curriculum in public sector primary schools?  Yes, as an alternative to French or Italian
When was it introduced?  1983
At what age do students begin EYL?  8 (Year 3)
Have any significant changes in teaching EYL taken place since 1980?  Since 1988 there has been pilot teaching of EYL from age 6 (Year 1). It will be made compulsory from 2003.
Is there any widespread teaching of English before the official starting age for compulsory EYL?  Not stated
How many hours a week/school year are officially allocated for EYL?  1 hour per week (35hours per year), but always taught in 15-20 minute blocks. English can also be the medium of instruction for music, PT, craft.
How many EYL teachers and students are there in the public education system?  Not stated
Who does the EYL teaching?  • The class teacher (99%)
• A specialist teacher (1%)
Who is eligible to teach EYL in the public education system?  Anyone qualified to teach primary education may teach EYL
Nationwide are schools able to recruit enough EYL teachers?  Yes. All EYL teachers have had 9 years of a foreign language at school followed by 3 more years at college. In addition there is a plentiful supply of in-service training.
What official guidelines exist for EYL teaching?  There is a national curriculum
Do EYL teaching materials have to be approved?  There is a list of officially approved locally published materials that teachers may choose from
What materials are typically used? • Materials adapted from published sources
• Original materials devised by teachers themselves.

A school would not officially use an international book.

What other foreign languages are taught at primary level?  French and Italian are taught from age 8. This will be lowered to age 6, in line with English.
Are any changes in the provision of EYL planned or anticipated? From 2003 a foreign language will be taught from age 6 (Year 1). There is wide political and practical support for this change. Some schools were authorised to make the change as early as 1998 and it is expected that most will have done so by 2001.

Private sector primary schools

Is there a significant number of these schools?  No, and those that exist are controlled by the state and follow national programmes

Private language schools
Is there a significant number of these schools?  No

Private tuition for Young Learners

Is there private tuition for primary age children?  No

Date information collected: 1999

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