Belfast Telegraph

Teacher training college upgrade

Almost 40 million euro in Government funding has been allocated to upgrade a teacher training college.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn gave the go-ahead for the construction of new facilities and refurbishment of existing amenities at St Patrick's Teacher Education College in Drumcondra.

Up to 400 direct and indirect jobs will be created during its two years of construction, expected to start within months.

"The funding I am making available to St Patrick's will mean that the college is equipped to provide the best possible learning experience to our student teachers," said Mr Quinn.

The college was built to accommodate 800 pupils but now boasts more than 2,000 students. When complete, the college will be able to comfortably accommodate 2,500 students, alleviating over-crowding and improving utilities and lecture halls.

Old and inadequate teaching laboratories and science facilities will be upgraded and access issues for the disabled addressed.

Mr Quinn said he recently requested the Higher Education Authority to examine the structures of teacher education provision.

"I have already announced changes to the content and length of teacher training courses, with much more emphasis on the actual skills of teaching especially in literacy and numeracy," he added. "Now, I also want to see structural reforms in the provision of teacher training.

"This good news for St Patrick's will also ultimately be good news for teacher education as we move towards centres of excellence and encouraging more formal links between colleges and universities."

JJ Rhattigan has been awarded the contract for the construction after a competitive tender.

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