The benefits of increasing diversity in the teaching profession are recognised by my Department.
The National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education published in 2015 has as its overall vision the goal of ensuring that the student body entering, participating in and completing higher education at all levels reflects the diversity and social mix of Ireland’s population. One of its specific objectives is to increase access by students from target groups to initial teacher education (ITE). The Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH) Fund supports innovative approaches to delivering the National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2015-2021 (NAP).
PATH 1 funding of €2.7m supports the objective in NAP to increase access to initial teacher education for students from the target groups identified in the National Access Plan such as Lone Parents, Travellers and students with a disability. Under PATH 1, the Department, through the HEA, invited six centres of teaching excellence, in partnership with relevant local stakeholders, to compete for PATH 1 funding by submitting proposals in accordance with a set of prescribed criteria. Funding was secured by the six centres of teaching excellence in 2017 to fund initiatives and these initiatives are now underway.
My Department is also providing €50,000 over three years, 2019-2021, towards the Migrant Teacher project, which has been funded under the National Integration Strategy. The Migrant Teacher Project, based in Marino Institute of Education, was established in 2017 to increase the participation of immigrant internationally educated teachers in the Irish primary and post-primary education sectors. The Migrant Teacher Project aims to work with immigrant teachers to support them through the process of registration and seeking employment.
Finally, work by the Teaching Council to streamline the process for the registration of teachers qualified in jurisdictions outside of the State, has been taken forward under the Teacher Supply Action Plan. As part of this work, the Council has engaged in a process of reviewing the Curricular Subject Requirements at Post-primary level with the aim of maintaining and protecting the standard while increasing flexibility in the system, thus helping to ensure that Ireland can welcome the diverse range of skills that foreign graduates bring to the modern learning environment.