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Colleges to merge in radical restructuring of teacher training

Academic standard of Irish teaching students among the highest, if not the highest, in the world says report.

Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn
Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

IRELAND’S 19 TEACHER training colleges are to merge or close, after the Minister for Education  accepted proposals for a radical restructuring of the teacher training profession.

Under the proposals, an international panel recommended that St Patrick’s College in Dublin be merged with the Church of Ireland College of Education, Dublin City University and the Mater Dei Institute.

It also recommends that Trinity College, University College Dublin, the National College of Art and Design and the Marino Institute should form another entity. The existing Marino site is a probable location for the fused entity.

In Limerick, the same proposals call for Mary Immaculate College and the teacher training at Limerick Institute of Technology to integrate into one location in UL.

The report, which was compiled by an international panel of experts, said that the size of educational institutions was critical if the quality of teaching was to improve. “Institutions with limited resources – both human and financial – more often than not find” this difficult it said.

The report expressed “surprise and concern” that the issue of teacher supply and demand had not been addressed.  The Department of Education put a cap on primary teaching every year, but the “rationale for those numbers in unclear”.

However, it said that the academic standard of students in teacher training courses in Ireland was among the highest, if not the highest, in the world.

“We know from research that the quality of our education system cannot exceed the quality of our teachers,” said Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn TD.  “This is why I am driving changes at both a structural and content level in teacher education.”

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