Dublin City University has launched a new undergraduate programme that enables deaf and hard of hearing people who use Irish Sign Language to pursue a career in primary teaching.

The course is the first of its kind in Ireland and will act as a pathway exclusively for members of the deaf community who wish to become primary school teachers working in the deaf education sector.

The Bachelor of Education route was formally launched by Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh at the end of last month.

Launching the course, he said: “This new degree programme route for people who are deaf and hard of hearing to become teachers is a hugely important step towards ensuring increased access and inclusion for all in the classroom.

“It will open the door to a world of teaching both for young people who use Irish Sign Language but also for people who want to teach through sign.”

Students will undertake normal education modules to understand how children learn and contexts in classrooms along with more specific modules on deaf learning.

This includes the history and cultures of deaf communities, modules on deaf education, audiology and assessment of deaf or hard of hearing children.

Hearing students will also be given the option of completing some deaf education modules.

This new pathway is being introduced initially on a pilot basis from September, with subsequent intakes of students scheduled for 2023 onwards.