Thursday, 15 February 2018
Department of Education and Skills
Teacher Training Provision
135. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if competitive funding will be made available for initial teacher education in schools of education in HEIs to achieve the objectives of the STEM education policy statement 2017 to 2026. [7904/18]
The STEM Policy Statement and Implementation Plan, which I launched in November 2017, aims to make Ireland the best in Europe in STEM by 2026. This Policy Statement focusses on the many strengths in STEM education in Ireland while providing a roadmap to address the areas for development.
Achieving our goals will require a multifacted focus, looking to increase engagement with STEM and progress important curriculum developments, including the redevelopment of the Primary Mathematics Curriculum and introduction of Leaving Certificate Computer Science. It will also require a significant step-up in support to teachers and school leaders and encouragement of innovation in teaching methods. Implementation of STEM policy will be considered as part of the Teaching Council’s review of impact of the reconfigured Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes and its Criteria and Guidelines for Programme Providers, which undepin all ITE. We are also looking at measures to increase the supply of STEM teachers. At post primary level, we are considering the introduction of subject quotas in ITE programmes. We are also considering the introduction of “top up” or conversion courses to upskill teachers. I have announced that I want to double the number of places on undergraduate course to train second level teachers, particularly in areas like STEM.
While the focus of the Policy Statement is on STEM from early years through to post-primary level, there are also important developments underway in the higher education sector which support STEM Policy and highlight the importance of alignment in relation to STEM education across the entire education system.
Therefore the Deputy can be assured that every effort will be made to assist schools of education to achieve the initial teacher education objectives of the STEM policy statement.