ELE Ireland says it can offer an “immediate solution” to the language barrier that Ukrainians arriving in Ireland face, in an open letter from its chairman David Niland published earlier today. 

The letter follows reports from The Irish Times in March that Simon Harris, minister for further and higher education, had discussed providing language classes with Ireland’s Education and Training Boards. 

Ireland has 16 statutory ETBs which oversee education in their respective regions. On April 1, the boards announced they would appoint regional education and language teams to support state schools to deliver English language education.

ELE Ireland, whose private member schools are independently-owned, says that it can operate “in tandem with the ETB scheme” and has offered to run classes “at cost” to save the Irish government money. 

“This would help the refugees integrate more quickly into Irish society”

In ELE Ireland’s letter, Niland noted the importance of classes that include a mix of student nationalities – something offered by the organisation’s schools – saying that this can help “speed up” language acquisition. 

“Nationality mix also helps to avoid the issue of ghettoization and promotes a culture of inclusion in the learning environment,” Niland wrote. “This would help the refugees integrate more quickly into Irish society.” 

Niland also emphasised the group’s experience in delivering english language education, stating that its schools have “the capacity” and “the capability” to deliver classes at an appropriate level for Ukrainians.

Harris has yet to publicly respond to the letter. 

Over 28,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Ireland as of May 10.

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