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Minister Sherlock announces new course for teachers of maths

May 28, 2012

The Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock, TD, today officially launched the Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching, which is aimed at ‘out-of-field’ teachers of maths.

The programme is aimed at improving the skills of maths teachers at post- primary level.

It covers mathematical content and knowledge, and teaching and learning strategies/approaches relevant to the Project Maths syllabi, which are being rolled out in schools.

Next month, all Leaving Certificate students in mainstream schools will be examined in elements of the Project Maths curriculum, whilst next year’s Junior Certificate maths paper will have elements of the new syllabus.

Last September, Minister Sherlock’s announced the intention to tender for course providers to up-skill teachers.

Following this tendering process, contracts have now been signed with a consortium led by the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching & Learning (NCE-MSTL), based in the University of Limerick (UL).

The course will be a blended learning programme based on a part-time (2 year) university accredited professional diploma, delivered locally and through online modules.

The course will be available nationwide free of charge, with specific provision for teachers in Irish-medium schools.

It will be accredited jointly by the UL and NUI Galway through their strategic alliance, and the NCE-MSTL will be responsible for all aspects of course design, delivery and administration.

Approximately 400 teachers will begin the course this autumn.

Commenting on the launch, Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn T.D said “The provision of this course provides further evidence of my personal commitment, and that of my Government colleagues, to supporting maths teaching in post primary schools.

“We are providing over €2million to fund this course, and are making it available at locations across the country and free of change, to maximise accessibility and participation.”

Minister Sherlock said “The teaching community has shown significant interest in this course since my announcement last September.

“I am pleased that the course will facilitate teachers who are working during the day, with convenient local and online access.”

Professor Paul McCutcheon, Vice President Academic & Registrar at the University of Limerick said “UL has a proud record in teacher education and this award is a vital development for Ireland’s long-term growth in the fields of mathematics, science and associated knowledge-based economic development.

“The NCE-MSTL, as the lead partner in this initiative, offers a unique combination of teaching expertise through its national network of collaborators to ensure the success of this critically important professional development programme for mathematics teachers over the next three years.”

John Herlihy, VP and Head of Google in Ireland said “Government, industry and academia all agree on the need for more students to study Maths, Science and Engineering subjects at third level and on the need to produce graduates with strong analytical and problem solving skills. The introduction of a Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching is an important step in augmenting how we teach maths in our secondary schools. I believe that providing ‘out of field’ teachers with the specialised skills to teach maths in an enthusiastic and knowledgeable way will be a catalyst for more students pursuing maths based subjects at third level.”

The provision of this course addresses the recommendation of the Project Maths Implementation Support Group which identified in 2010 that “The Department of Education and Skills should work towards ensuring that all post primary students at all levels are taught mathematics solely by teachers who hold a qualification in mathematics by 2018. Post graduate courses for existing teachers should be provided on a scale and level commensurate with this objective.”

Provision will be made nationwide, at the following venues:

  • University of Limerick (UL)
  • NUI Galway
  • University College Dublin (UCD)
  • St Patricks’ College, Thurles
  • Institute of Technology, Sligo
  • Institute of Technology, Tallaght
  • Institute of Technology, Tralee
  • Institute of Technology, Carlow
  • Cork Institute of Technology
  • Dundalk Institute of Technology
  • Letterkenny Institute of Technology
  • Waterford Institute of Technology
  • Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Gaillimh
  • Education Support Centre Network