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Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

• Enhanced programme

• Enhanced programme content• Enhanced trainer-learner ratioIn 2010, FÁS funded 20 Specialist Training Providers, in 47 locations, to provide a total of 2,104STP learner places, of which 1,804 are provided by the National Learning Network (NLN).The Prison Education Service consists of a partnership between the Irish Prison Service and arange of educational agencies from the community, including the Vocational Education Committeesand the Public Library Service. The Department of Education and Science provided an allocation ofapproximately 215 wholetime teachers to the prisons in the 2008/2009 academic year.Other agencies also contribute to prison education including the Open University, which caters forapproximately 80 prisoners annually completing degree-level distance education courses and theArts Council provides writers' and artists' workshop.The aims of the prison education service is to provide a high quality, broad and flexible programmeof education to help those in prison to cope with their sentence, to achieve personal development, toprepare for life after release and to establish an appetite for lifelong learning. The objectives,methods and course content are largely those of adult education. The majority of the courses areaccredited by the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) and the serviceaccommodates the special needs and interests of prisoners and for the high turnover in the prisonpopulation. Courses provided include basic education (including literacy and numeracy), generalsubjects (including English, Mathematics, Languages); the Arts (including Music and Drama);practical subjects (including Woodwork, Metalwork) and specific courses such as AddictionAwareness, Parenting and Anger Management.A number of pre-release courses are available to prisoners to assist the transition into thecommunity and a number of post-release programmes on offer to ex-prisoners. These were initiateddue to the rate of recidivism of a large cohort of prisoners and provide educational and trainingopportunities to facilitate reintegration into society.There is also a programme of Work and Training within the prison system. The primary focus ofthis programme is to assist prisoners to get a job on leaving prison, and thus enhance theirreintegration process. Areas covered include catering and laundry, computers, woodwork,construction, craft work and electronics. Courses are accredited by a number of bodies, includingFETAC, FÁS and City and Guilds of London.Adult literacy programmes and Traveller training programmes have been described in sections 6.2,and 6.3 and 5.5 respectively.82

Theme 7: Training VET teachers and trainersIn Ireland, teachers are primarily concerned with the education of young people within the formalschool system at either primary or secondary and vocational level. At third level in academicinstitutions, such as universities and Institutes of Technology, persons providing teaching aregenerally known as lecturers or professors.Trainers are involved in the skills training and development of trainees of all ages outside of theformal education system. This training is provided at both initial and continuing vocational traininglevels. Training is generally provided either by private companies or within semi-state organisationssuch as FÁS, the Training and Employment Authority and other State training agencies in specificindustry sectors7.1 Priorities in training VET teachers and trainersLatest developments in the provisions for entering and developing careers as teachers/trainersThe Teaching Council is the statutory professional body for teaching in Ireland. The Council has arange of functions relating to teacher education which span the entire teaching career includingentry to initial teacher education programmes, accreditation of such programmes, induction ofnewly qualified teachers into the profession and the continuing professional development ofteachers. In all its deliberations, the Council actively engages with the education partners, theHigher Education Institutions and the Minister for Education and Skills. In November 2009, theTeaching Council published the Teaching Council (Registration) Regulations, 2009 which set outthe Council’s requirements for persons wishing to become registered teachers in Ireland. Among theobjectives of the regulations is the achievement of consistent standards in the qualifications requiredto be registered as a teacher, irrespective of whether the teacher will teach in the primary, postprimary,or further education sectors.Within the context of the overarching policy on the teacher education continuum, a focus iscurrently being placed on the stage of initial teacher education. There is a recognition that the roleof teachers has changed and while they continue to impart knowledge, they also need to adopt thebroadest range of methodologies which will ensure the active engagement of all learners. Moreover,it is recognised that teachers have responsibilities as members of staff where collaboration andteamwork between teachers, as well as an approach to teaching that goes beyond subjectboundaries, is now accepted as the norm 92 .In June 2011, the Council published its Policy on the Continuum of Teacher Education 93 , whichprovides the framework within which the Council will implement its functions relating to teachereducation. The following are examples of a number of changes the Council is advocating:With regard to Initial Teacher Training (ITE), the Council considers:• There should be a review of entry requirements and selection procedures to includeconsideration of: the use of aptitude tests and structured interviews; the significance ofprevious relevant experience; subject quotas; the standard of academic achievementrequired. Such a review would also explore ways of facilitating entry to the profession byunderrepresented groups and alternative ways of assessing competence in numeracy, literacyand Gaeilge (Irish), as appropriate, prior to entry.92Preparation of the 2010 Joint Report on the implementation of the Education and Training 2010 work programme.2009 national reports: Ireland.93Policy on the Continuum of Teacher Education, The Teaching Council, June 2011.83

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