Before I begin this opinion, a disclaimer: I worked for a private college of education for 6 years. Now, on to the article. Most people know that the reason a private college for training teachers was established was because there was a huge shortage of teachers. Almost two decades on, it is still the case, although there were a few years where there was a shortage of jobs rather than teachers. The recession was a funny time insofar as it solved that problem with so many people retiring and the two-tier pay scale sent many graduates packing to foreign shores where they could make a respectable wage.
However, also during that time, Droichead came along. The issue of Droichead cannot be underestimated when it comes to Teacher Training. Droichead basically moved the gatekeeper of teaching from the Inspector in the “dip” year to the end of Teacher Training.
The problem with private colleges is that they can pretty much do as they please. I’m not inferring that they do this but the fact is that they can without anyone really being able to do anything about it. I’d be 99% sure that because it is a private entity, if one asked a question about particular data, they would not have to release that information, whereas a public college would.
For example, (and I have no suspicion that this is the case), DCU is very open about opening up places for students from the Church of Ireland faith with lower points in their Leaving Cert. One wouldn’t know this data from a private college because they wouldn’t have to provide this knowledge.
This is a tricky post to write because I don’t want to infer that private colleges are doing a worse job than public colleges. However, I do want to say that I think it’s a very bad idea to outsource training for a public sector job to a private entity. There’s no reason why any of the public entities cannot replicate the private distant learning model.