024. Abolish favourable entry to Teacher Training for Protestants
During the recession, it was decided that we had far too many Teacher Training Colleges and it was time to amalgamate them. Hibernia College was exempt as a private entity but the others were all fair game and were absorbed into various universities. One such amalgamation was in DCU where the old St. Patrick’s College was to join with the Church of Ireland College of Education. The “trouble” was that St. Pat’s was a Catholic institution and the CICE was a Protestant one. DCU is a secular university. Common sense would have dictated that given we live in a secular republic that the days of denominational training would be a thing of the past. Also, the course content was going to be the same.
However, we must not forget we also live in Ireland. Somehow, it was negotiated that 32 places on the Teacher Training course in DCU would be reserved for members of the Protestant faith. While this isn’t fine anyway, not only that, the points expected to gain entry to the course would be lower. In 2018, this equated to 98 fewer points.
What is most baffling about this arrangement is that it isn’t afforded to any other minority. Jewish students do not have to get lower points in their Leaving Cert to work in a Jewish school. Ditto for Muslims in a Muslim School.
OK, so people might argue that this was a temporary arrangement for a couple of years to give the CICE and St. Pat’s the time to update their various differences. However, despite this arrangement finishing in 2019 when it was supposed to, Richard Bruton quietly extended it to 2023.
There is no justification for one religion to be given this advantage, when other religions don’t get the same advantages. That aside, there is no reason why one needs to be of the Church of Ireland faith to work in a Church of Ireland school. In fact, members of the CoI work in Catholic schools and Educate Together schools. (I presume they also work in other settings too.) This practice needs to stop immediately.