Dáil Éireann - Volume 565 - 10 April, 2003
Written Answers. - School Staffing.
Mr. Penrose Mr. Penrose
16. Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science his proposals to reduce the level of dependence on untrained teachers or untrained substitute teachers in primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10203/03]
Mr. N. Dempsey Mr. N. Dempsey
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): A range of measures to improve teacher supply have been introduced in recent years. The intake to the B.Ed. programme in the Colleges of Education has been increased dramatically. Since 1999 more than 1,000 students have been admitted annually to the undergraduate B.Ed. programme. This represents a doubling of the number admitted to the programme in 1996.
Since 1996, post graduate diploma courses have been run by the colleges of education to increase further the number of B.Ed graduates. In February 2002, 461 students commenced the post graduate course and these students will graduate  in June 2003. A total of 1,633 students completed the post graduate course between 1996 and 2002.
The total intake to the colleges of education in the 2001-02 academic year was increased to a record 1,461. This compares with an intake of 500 in 1996-97. There are currently some 3,460 students enrolled and pursuing various stages of primary teacher training programmes in the Colleges of Education.
Between 2002 and 2003, it is projected that some 2,700 qualified primary teachers will graduate from the colleges of education. This represents a huge increase in the number of trained graduates compared with 1995 when 291 graduated.
A further post graduate course commenced in February 2003 with a maximum of 460 places available on the course which will conclude in May-June 2004.
My Department is examining the feasibility of providing a modular type course for second-level trained teachers currently teaching in primary schools, who hold the Higher Diploma in Education and the necessary academic requirement in Irish. This proposal will be discussed with the colleges of education in the near future and, if implemented, would enable these teachers to become fully qualified primary teachers.
Dáil Éireann 565 Written Answers. School Staffing.