Thursday, 17 November 2022
Department of Education and Skills
209. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 77 of 9 November 2022, the reason that an invitation for tenders to establish a single supplier contract for the provision of initial teacher education has been issued on eTenders; if the four existing State-funded higher education institutions were asked to increase the number of ITE places they offer before this invitation for tenders was issued; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57115/22]
I understand the Deputy is referring to the request for tenders recently published by my Department for the provision of two Irish-medium teacher education programmes, including a full-time four-year Irish-medium Bachelor of Education (primary teaching) initial teacher education programme.
Over the last number of years, as part of the overall implementation of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education, my Department has introduced a number of measures to increase the supply of teachers who can deliver high quality Irish-medium education. These measures include the introduction of two new Irish-medium teacher education programmes. One of these programmes is an Irish-medium Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) (primary teaching) initial teacher education programme, which commenced in Marino Institute of Education in 2019. The contract for the delivery of the programme was awarded to Marino Institute of Education following a procurement process. This programme is delivered entirely through the medium of Irish and school placements take place in Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools. Candidates for the programme must also meet specific Irish language entry andexit criteria.
The contract for the Irish-medium B.Ed. programme, which was awarded to Marino Institute of Education, provides for five cohorts of students, with the final cohort commencing in 2023. To continue to meet the objectives of the Policy on Gaeltacht Education and to ensure that there will be an intake to an Irish-medium B.Ed. programme in September 2024, the Department recently published the new request for tenders to which the Deputy refers.
As the specific aim of this programme is to increase the supply of teachers who can deliver high quality education through the medium of Irish, the Department did not request the four primary providers to increase their intake on the primary General Stream B.Ed. progamme.
I wish to clarify that the enrolments previously provided were for the Primary Initial Teacher Education General Stream Programmes and did not include the enrolments for the B.Ed. Irish medium programme in Marino as outlined in the table.
Approved Enrolment on the B. Ed through the medium of Irish for the years 2019-2022.