Tuesday, 5 November 2002
Dáil Eireann Debate
361. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason a person who holds an honours degree from Sligo IT in environmental science cannot go on to do a higher diploma in education, yet if somebody had studied the same degree in environmental science in either NUI Galway, UCC or the University of Limerick he or she could apply for the higher diploma; if he will investigate this anomaly; the reason for this discrimination against IT graduates; and if it was not the understanding that all degrees were the same. [19972/02]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): Admission to the higher diploma in education courses is a matter for the third level colleges concerned. The basic requirement for entry to these courses is an eligible primary degree of the National University of Ireland or its equivalent. In this context, eligible primary degrees are those deemed acceptable to the Registration Council which is a statutory body charged with the recognition of qualifications for the purpose of teaching in secondary schools.
In order to meet the Registration Council's regulations for admission to the register of secondary teachers, an applicant must hold a third level qualification which, in the opinion of the council, would enable the applicant to teach at least one of the approved subjects as prescribed in the rules and programme for secondary schools.
The Institute of Technology, Sligo, sought recognition of a bachelor of science – environmental science and technology – degree for the purpose of fulfilling the degree requirement for registration as a teacher of biology in a secondary school. The application was considered in full by the Registration Council. The council found that the matters covered by the course would not be adequate to enable the holder to teach biology. In conveying its decision, the council advised the institute on how the council's requirements on course content might be met in relation to biology.
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