The proposal announced last week by Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn that would see St Angela’s College in Sligo merge with NUIG has been criticised by Michael Colreavy TD and Senator Marc MacSharry.
Speaking on the issue Deputy Colreavy said, “I understand that the report recommends the existing 19 state-run institutions will be merged into six ‘Centres for Teacher Education’ and that there should be in place a more rigorous cap on the numbers in teacher training due in part to the high levels of unemployment among teaching graduates.
“The report rightly acknowledges the high calibre of entrants to teacher education in Ireland which is amongst the best in the world and it seems to make the case for a move to a Finnish-style system, in which all teachers are educated to master’s level.”
Deputy Colreavy stressed, “It is essential the St. Angela’s College in Sligo remains open. The college continues to produce the finest of graduates. It is also essential that people in the North-West region have proper access to a teacher training college such as St. Angela’s, as the North-West is often neglected by government policies.”
The proposal was also slammed by Sligo Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry who said, “This is a retrograde step that flies in the face of efforts to centralise specialist teacher training.”
Outlining the consequences of a possible closure Senator MacSharry stated, “There are significant economic and social implications of shutting down the Sligo campus. It would cost the state many millions to provide the necessary specialist infrastructure at NUIG. Also, St Angela’s is the only NUI campus north of the Dublin-Galway line. Its closure will further marginalise the North West, at a time when the region has already been forced to bare more than its fair share of cuts to local services.
“I would ask the Education Minister Ruairí Quinn to think very carefully before making a decision that could have major consequences, not only for the students and staff of St Angela’s, but also for the North West region and the overall reputation of teacher training in Ireland. ”