Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton T.D. has today announced the expansion of the number of places on post primary teacher education courses to tackle the current shortage of qualified teachers.
More than 380 extra places will be added to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching courses in 2018, with a particular focus on priority areas of STEM, Irish and Foreign Languages.
School managers have been under pressure to fill posts in Irish, maths and languages in recent years, which the department puts down to an increase in the number of students entering post primary education.
A statement from the Department of Education said: “We are now recruiting more new teachers than at any other point in the history of the state. Over 5,000 additional teachers have been successfully recruited in the last two years.
“However, while the numbers graduating from post primary teacher education courses – both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, have remained broadly constant over the past number of years, the number of students entering post primary is increasing and will continue to do so until 2025. The Government is responding to this growth by increasing the number of places on post primary teacher education programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.”
The new measures are:
- The Universities will increase the capacity on undergraduate initial teacher education programmes by an estimated 280 places in 2018.
- This includes an increase in the priority areas of STEM, Irish and foreign languages of more than 100 places, an increase of over 40% on 2017 in these areas.
- At postgraduate level, the Universities will increase the capacity on PME programmes by more than 100 places in the priority areas of STEM, Irish and foreign languages.
- The universities and Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC) have extended the closing date to Friday 13 April for applications for entry to PME programmes for Irish and the targeted STEM and foreign language subjects (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, French, German, Spanish and Italian).
Announcing these new measures, Minister Bruton said. “The quality of our teachers and school leaders is the number one factor which will influence the outcome for the child and we are very lucky in Ireland to have high quality teachers.
“Some concerns have been raised recently around teacher supply issues. I have previously announced some measures to support schools in managing these issues, including expanding the number of days a teacher can work while on a career break. Today, I am taking further action by expanding the number of places on teacher education programmes with a heavy emphasis on certain subject areas at post primary level, to ensure that schools can get the right mix of subject teachers.
“We have set out very ambitious strategies in STEM, foreign languages and digital, as part of our overall goal to have the best education and training service in Europe by 2026. We are now providing additional places to ensure the system can respond more readily to our national priorities and the needs of schools. ”