New university School of Education officially opened in Kildare

Was Education Minister a swot?

Henry Bauress

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Henry Bauress

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henry.bauress@leinsterleader.ie

New university School of Education officially opened in Kildare

The new School of Education at Maynooth University

The new School of Education at Maynooth University was officially opened today, Februrary 21, by two former students,  Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, and Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

The university said the €14.1 million centre  provides an important centre for Maynooth to build on its strength in providing  teacher education, innovative education research.

 It is providing capacity for the rapid growth in student enrolment to the University’s three education departments, which has expanded from 700 to 1,400 since 2014, it said.

The €14.1 million building cost was funded by a combination of university resources, the European Investment Bank (EIB), and a donation from the Dominican Sisters following the transfer of Froebel College of Education to Maynooth University.

The School of Education, designed by architects, Scott Tallon Walker (STW), is part of the planned expansion of the Maynooth University on its north campus, and forms a gateway opposite the library, also designed by STW.

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Professor Philip Nolan welcomed representatives of the Dominican Sisters who, who, he said, provided €4 million of the funding for the School of Education.

The Dominicans have been involved in third level education in Ireland since 1879 including teacher training at Froebel College, established at Sion Hill in 1943. This  was transferred to Maynooth University in September 2013.

The university said it is the first institution providing the full range of teacher education from early childhood to adult education, now producing more than 600 education graduates each year.

 It has  over 80 people engaged in doctoral degrees in education, including adult education.

Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, who graduated from Maynooth University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1992, and a Higher Diploma in Education in 1993, said: “Maynooth’s record in Irish education is a long and proud one.  He said Maynooth had “big plans for the future,” and was “a very ambitious college” and planned to increase its own student accommodation from 1000 beds to 2,500 beds.

He  got some laughter when he said you wouldn’t see students going to lectures at 8.30 am in his day.

The Minister told us he “wasn’t a grade A student” and enjoyed a lot of non academic activity including playing soccer in the Collingwood Cup.

But  Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, who graduated with a Master of Education Degree from Maynooth in 2002, said: “I did hear Joe you were a real swot.”

Minister O’Connor praised the role of the Dominican sisters.

She said  Maynooth role in teacher education  is vital not only for the development of our young and not-so-young students, but also for our national competitiveness.

Thanking  Maynooth University President, Professor Philip Nolan,  for his work on gender equality she welcomed a forthcoming “senior academic leadership initiative for women only professors.”

Professor Nolan said over 300 teachers are taking postgraduate diplomas in educational leadership and management courses annually.

The development of a Bachelor of Science in Education, which leads straight through to a Professional Master of Education, helping to increase the number of STEM graduates into the teaching profession by over 10% in recent years.

He said 30 students have so far taken the option to take work placements in three cities in China as part of their Professional Master of Education.

Statistics show that over 90% of teachers at all levels are white, middle-class females. To offset this, said Professor Nolan,   the their Turn to Teaching is working to broaden the teaching base by introducing the profession to those from diverse groups of people.

 In the three-year programme, supported by €750,000 in state funding, participants from the Traveller community, migrants, people with disabilities, mature students and lone parents complete a foundation year aimed at preparing them to transition to full-time teacher education.

In another  project, the Rising Teachers, Rising Leaders programme brings both second-level students and teachers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds together to help students consider teaching as a viable career and to recognise and develop the leadership skills of the teachers involved.

Professor Nolan said  Maynooth is currently working with 20 teachers and 40 students across 19 schools in Dublin and Kildare on the development of this programme.