News & Events

New University College Cork Project will Diversify the Irish Teaching Force

23 Apr 2018

The New Avenues to Teaching project was launched at the Aula Maxima at UCC on Monday 23 April at 3.30. This project seeks to diversify the Irish teaching force by widening participation in initial teacher education programmes at University College Cork.

Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton, joined the Vice President and Registrar Prof John O' Halloran and guests from across the University and county to launch this project. This initiative comes at a critical time amidst a shortage of teachers and complaints about the cost of postgraduate teaching courses. This project provides financial support, including placement and fee bursaries, and personal support for students from groups currently underrepresented in the Irish teaching force. These include;

  • Irish travelers
  • Other ethnic minorities
  • students with disabilities
  • lone parents
  • students from target socioeconomic groups (non-manual worker group and the semi-skilled/unskilled manual worker group)
  • mature students.

The project will also include a Junior Teacher Programme that will recruit and support students between the ages of 15 and 19 in their journey to becoming teachers. 

Photos of this event can be found here.

This project also ties in with global issues of equality and social justice in education as highlighted by Fiona Chambers, Head of School of Education, UCC who recently attended the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2018 conference in New York. “An inspiring theme of the AERA Presidential Address from current president, Deborah Loewenberg Ball was the drive to make the teaching profession diverse. This resonates with the raison d’etre of NAT. Professor Loewenberg Ball asserted ‘the profession responsible for developing the human beings of our society should reflect our population. Moreover, children of different races and ethnicities should ‘encounter and work with adults in school with whom they can identify and those who are different to themselves. She closed her speech by saying ‘The knowledge base of the profession requires the expertise and experience of people who are diverse with respect to race, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, language and gender. Diversity in teacher education is a world-wide issue for schools...It is wonderful for our School of Education to be part of a project that is leading the way in this respect in Ireland.

New Avenues to Teaching is funded by the Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH) (Strand 1) which is a competitive funding scheme. This funding scheme was established by the Department of Education and Skills to support implementation of the National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2015–2019. Managed by the HEA on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills, this three-year funding initiative (2017–2020) aims to improve Equity of Access to students who have been traditionally under-represented in teaching.

For more on this story contact:

School of Education

Scoil an Oideachais

Leeholme, O' Donovan's Road, Cork, Ireland