The conferring of awards on the first graduands of the Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching took place at the University of Limerick on the 24th of January 2015.
Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan TD attended the ceremony which saw 288 teachers graduate from the two year part-time programme, devised as a targeted initiative for out-of-field teachers of mathematics in Ireland. As registered post-primary teachers and graduates of the programme, they are deemed by the Teaching Council to have met the Council’s requirements for Mathematics.
The diploma is fully funded by the Department of Education and Skills as part of the national strategy to support the implementation of Project Maths and improve standards in mathematics education in post-primary schools by upskilling out-of-field teachers of mathematics. The programme is closely aligned with the needs of out-of-field teachers of mathematics, Project Maths and the requirements of the Teaching Council.
The delivery of the programme involves a consortium of Higher Education Institutions (HEI's) led by the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL) based at the University of Limerick. The center also partnered with Google Ireland enabling the programme designers to maximize the blended learning opportunities for students.
Speaking from the conferring ceremony Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD. said “Continuous professional development of our teachers in a wide range of areas including, as a priority, literacy and numeracy, is vital. Dedicated funding for the further development of post-primary teachers in mathematics has been ringfenced through this programme and you have made our investment worthwhile. The innovation of the teaching on this programme, which involves so many of our higher education institutes, is an example to be copied. The motivating factor in all these Institutions coming together and collaborating was always, and continues to be, that the mathematics competence of our students is raised to compare with the best in the world.”
UL’s Professor John O’ Donoghue, Course Director of the programme said, “The programme and its graduates will contribute hugely to better outcomes for school mathematics and the further development and roll-out of the project maths curriculum at junior and senior cycle, and since mathematics underpins the STEM disciplines, STEM education will also benefit. These teachers are to be commended for their commitment and dedication in undertaking a demanding programme of university mathematics and pedagogy while continuing to work fulltime. I would also like to commend the work and expertise of the lecturers and tutors from the various partner HEI’s who delivered the programme so expertly.”
Innovative delivery methodologies for the programme were developed using the maths education expertise of Ireland’s HEIs and the staff involved at EpiStem/UL. EpiStem leads a national consortium of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) established for the purposes of delivering this programme. The consortium includes: NUI Galway, University College Dublin (UCD), St Patricks’ College, Thurles; Institute of Technology, Sligo; Institute of Technology, Tallaght; Institute of Technology, Carlow; Cork Institute of Technology; Dundalk Institute of Technology; Letterkenny Institute of Technology; Waterford Institute of Technology. The consortium also includes, through EpiStem, its founding partners in the Shannon Consortium, UL (lead), IT Tralee, Limerick Institute of Technology and Mary Immaculate College. The consortium was also supported by a number of Teacher Education Centres.