The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., is to proceed with radical plans to overhaul the provision of initial teacher education (ITE).
Minister Quinn has accepted the recommendations set out in a report commissioned by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on the structures of teacher training. The purpose of the report, requested by the Minister, was to identify new possible structures to improve teacher education in Ireland so that it is comparable with the best in the world.
The main recommendation in the review by an international panel of education experts is that teacher education be provided in six “centres for teacher education”.
This article was published in September 2012
Currently there are 19 state funded providers of ITE (and three non-state funded) offering more than 40 college programmes in primary and post-primary teaching.
Changes are already underway to the content and length of teacher education, with a greater emphasis on literacy, numeracy and pedagogical skills (teaching methodology).
Today’s announcement on structural changes will complement the curricular reforms already outlined by Minister Quinn and assist in positioning Ireland at the forefront of teacher education.
“We know from research that the quality of our education system cannot exceed the quality of our teachers,” said Minister Quinn. “This is why I am driving changes at both a structural and content level in teacher education.”
“The new collaborations recommended by the international panel will mean that a smaller number of centres for ITE exist, but that they offer education across multiple sectors from early childhood to primary, to post primary to adult education.”
“These centres for teacher education will also possess a critical mass in terms of research capacity which is not always possible in smaller institutions. The new configurations will mean strong research bases will be cemented in each centre.”
The report from an international review panel on the Structure of Initial Teacher Education Provision in Ireland recommends the following configurations:
- Dublin City University – St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra – Mater Dei Institute of Education
- Trinity College Dublin – Marino Institute of Education – University College Dublin – National College of Art and Design
- National University of Ireland Maynooth – Froebel College
- University of Limerick – Mary Immaculate College – Limerick Institute of Technology
- University College Cork – Cork Institute of Technology
- National University of Ireland Galway – St. Angela’s College Sligo
The Review Panel has also suggested that the Church of Ireland College of Education would be suitably positioned to join any of the first three new configurations.
The review is in keeping with the recommendations of the National Strategy of Higher Education 2030 or Hunt report which sees local, regional and international collaboration as the key to higher education system development. It will also form part of a wider review of the entire higher education landscape which is currently underway by the HEA.
Minister Quinn has now asked the HEA to submit a detailed report, before the end of the year, on how to implement the recommendations of the Panel. He will then report back to Cabinet with more formal proposals including financial implications.
“Ireland continues to attract the highest calibre of students into the teaching profession. I believe the restructuring of teacher education which I am now initiating will mean these top performing students will receive an education which equips them to become the best possible teachers,” Minister Quinn concluded.