The University of Limerick conferred the graduands of the Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching (PDMT) today 23rd of January 2016. Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan TD attended the ceremony which saw 240 teachers graduate from the two year part-time programme which was initiated in 2012 by government contract. 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 PDMT 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, 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 former NCE-MSTL, now the National Centre for STEM Education based at the University of Limerick based at the University of Limerick. Today’s graduates are the 2nd of four cohorts to complete the PDMT and meet the Teaching Council’s requirements for mathematics teaching in this way.
Speaking from the conferring ceremony Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD said, “We recognise that a good education is fundamental to building worthwhile lives; not just economically, physically, and intellectually, but psychologically, emotionally and spiritually too. This is why we value a broad education for all our young people to Leaving Certificate level, including a high level of competence in the core subject of mathematics. There are almost 250 students graduating here today from Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching. This and other interventions indicate that we are taking a lead in raising the level of knowledge, skill and competences of mathematics teachers. The innovation at the heart of this programme has sparked international interest and other countries are observing what we’re doing here.”
UL President, Professor Don Barry said, “This is a significant day for the University of Limerick as we graduate our second class of the Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching. I am very pleased to join with our alliance partner NUIG and other institutions to address a national priority in Mathematics Teacher Education. In terms of relevance and impact this is the largest CPD programme for teachers in the state and I am delighted to see so many graduates given this opportunity to enhance their teaching abilities in the vital subject of Mathematics.”
UL’s Professor Paul Conway, Course Director of the programme said, “2016 is an important year for STEM with the imminent publication of the report on STEM education. UL and the National Centre for STEM Education are significantly positioned to add to the delivery of the targets contributing directly to national policy. The continued contribution of this second cohort of teachers of mathematics together with their predecessors constitutes a very considerable contribution to mathematics teaching at Junior Cycle resulting in a better experience and outcome for all post-primary students. The programme and its graduates will contribute hugely to the further development and roll-out of the project maths curriculum at junior and senior cycle as well as continued contribution to STEM education, future skills needs and the knowledge economy.”
Innovative delivery methodologies for the programme were developed using the maths education expertise of Ireland’s HEIs and the staff involved at Epi-Stem, the National Centre for STEM Education formerly NCE-MSTL/UL. Epi-Stem leads a national consortium of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) established for the purposes of delivering this programme. The consortium includes: NUI Galway, Dublin City University (DCU), 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 Epi-Stem, 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.
The center also partnered with Google Ireland enabling the programme designers to maximize the blended learning opportunities for students and provides possibilities for use of portable and mobile computing to enhance mathematics teaching in Irish schools.