Tuesday, 25 March 2003
Dáil Eireann Debate
325. Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science his plans to introduce a course for people who have been in primary teaching in excess of ten years and do not hold a recognised national school teaching qualification, but have been substitute teaching on an ongoing basis, as previously done in approximately the late 1970s or early 1980s. [8064/03]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): To be fully recognised to teach in a mainstream class at primary level, teachers must have undertaken a recognised primary teacher training course and possess a recognised primary teaching qualification. Such a qualification can be attained either by a teacher graduating from one of the recognised teacher training courses in the colleges of education or by a primary teacher trained outside the State achieving the necessary level of competence in the Irish language.
There are currently 3,460 students enrolled and pursuing various stages of primary teacher training programmes in the colleges of education. A postgraduate course for primary teaching commenced in February of this year. This full-time course will allow persons with degrees to qualify as primary teachers. A maximum of 460 places have been provided on this training course which is expected to conclude in May-June 2004.
My Department will be consulting with the colleges of education in the near future with regard to the provision of modular type courses for secondary trained teachers with the necessary academic requirement in Irish.
All aspects of primary teacher training are the subject of ongoing review between my Department and the colleges of education. My Department is also examining further options for addressing the teacher supply issue in consultation with the relevant interests. However, there are no plans at present to introduce a specific course to train those unqualified people who have been substitute teaching on a long-term basis.
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