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University of Limerick to host new education programme for upskilling teachers

Tue, 10 Nov 2020

A new education programme for upskilling teachers is to take place at University of Limerick, it has been announced.

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD and the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD announced the launch of three new level 8 programmes for upskilling registered post-primary teachers.

A Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching with UL as the lead institution has been announced, with NUIG, DCU, TUD, CIT, LIT and WIT as partners.

A Professional Diploma for Teaching Physics with DCU as the lead institution, along with UL and NUIG as partners, has also been announced.

UCC will also host a Higher Diploma in Spanish for Teaching (Post-Primary).

The announcement comes on foot of a funding call to the higher education institutions for proposals for upskilling programmes for post-primary teachers, requested by the Department of Education and managed by the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The new programmes will enable participants to meet curricular subject requirements and, on graduation, participants will be able to register to teach the new subject at the highest level in post-primary education.

“I am delighted to announce, with my colleague Minister Harris, the establishment of these innovative new upskilling programmes,” said Minister Foley.

“Our post-primary schools have highlighted teacher recruitment challenges in certain subject areas, including STEM and modern foreign languages. These programmes will support the supply of teachers to meet the needs of our schools and students over the coming years in three key subject areas, mathematics, physics and Spanish.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the higher education institutions for coming forward with these approaches to help improve teacher supply in these subject areas and the HEA for their management of this process on behalf of my Department.

“This is an exciting opportunity for teachers to upskill in a flexible way with no fee cost, to increase their own opportunities for employment whilst addressing recruitment challenges in these subject areas. I would urge strongly any registered post-primary teacher with a potential interest in these subject areas to look into these programmes and assess their options further with the relevant HEIs,” added Minister Foley.

Minister Harris said: “I am delighted with the response from our higher education institutions in coming forward with innovative approaches to provide upskilling opportunities for teachers through these programmes. I want to commend all the institutions that responded to the HEA call.

“The recommended proposals are of the highest quality and I am confident that participants will, over the two years of the programme, be empowered to become effective and enthusiastic teachers of these subjects.

“I look forward to seeing these new upskilling programmes up and running. Both the Department of Education and my department will view these with great interest as potential templates for future initiatives to address the demand in our schools for subject teachers as needs are identified,” added Minister Harris.

Dr Alan Wall, Chief Executive of the HEA said the initiative was “another great example of flexibility by our higher education institutions”.

“Building on the track record of our HEIs in providing quality upskilling programmes, the initiative provides a great professional learning opportunity for teachers and highlights the collaboration across the education continuum,” said Dr Wall.

The programmes are open to registered post-primary teachers irrespective of employment status. Teachers cannot already be registered in the subject in which they are intending to upskill. Other than a deposit, refundable to the participating teacher on completion of the programme, places will be provided free of charge and prioritised for teachers who are unemployed, not in full employment, and those teaching the subject “out of field”.

Funding is being made available to support two intakes of students, commencing in January 2021 with the second intake in January 2022. In total the Department of Education intends to invest approximately €3m in these programmes over the next few years. Approximately 160 places will be provided for in each intake across the three programmes.

The programmes will run over two years on a part-time basis and will be delivered in a flexible and innovative fashion, so as to ensure the best opportunity for teachers to participate, including those in partial or full employment and to facilitate participation of teachers on a national scale. Programmes are designed so that participation should not impact on class contact time for currently serving teachers. For those teachers employed or considering seeking employment in Irish-medium schools, the mathematics and physics upskilling programmes will also be provided through the medium of Irish.

The application processes will open shortly and applications should be made directly to the appropriate HEI. Further information on the programmes and the application processes, including closing dates for applications, are available at the following links: