Restructuring Of ITE Gets Go Ahead

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".

Currently there are 19 state funded providers of ITE 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.

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.

Minister Quinn said: "We know from research that the quality of our education system cannot exceed the quality of our teachers. 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."

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.


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