Written Answers. - Teaching Qualifications.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

9 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of untrained teachers or untrained substitute teachers in primary schools at the latest date for which figures are available; the number of teaching days taught by untrained teachers; the number of pupils in classes being taught by untrained teachers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21741/02]

There are 910 untrained teachers paid in primary schools at present in a temporary capacity. In the current school year untrained teachers serving in a temporary capacity have been paid for 14,561 days which includes weekends.

In the current school year 22,753 days have been worked by unqualified substitutes in primary schools. The information relating to the number of pupils in classes being taught by the teachers concerned is not available as the arrangement of classes is a matter for the relevant school authorities.

As part of a range of initiatives to improve teacher supply, the intake to the B.Ed. programme in the colleges of education has been increased dramatically in recent years. 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.

The total annual 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.

Discussions with the colleges of education regarding a further post graduate course due to commence in early 2003 are currently taking place. My Department will also be consulting with the colleges in the near future with regard to the provision of modular type courses for secondary trained teachers with the necessary academic requirement in Irish.

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.