More than 70 Irish teachers and speakers have warned of a "critical decline" in pupils studying Irish and other languages in schools.
They are calling for the Department of Education (DE) to recommend that all pupils should study a language at GCSE.
It is currently not compulsory.
Signatories to the open letter from the Irish language body, Gael Linn, said "urgent and decisive action" was needed to reverse a decline in pupils studying languages.
A survey carried out by the BBC in 2019 found that more than a third of schools in Northern Ireland had stopped offering French, German or Spanish at GCSE in the previous five years.
Separate exam figures also showed the number of pupils taking modern languages at GCSE had fallen by more than 40% in the past 15 years.
A more recent study from the British Council said that teaching children modern languages at primary school "all but collapsed" during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A scheme to teach primary pupils additional languages was scrapped by DE due to financial cuts in 2015.