College told to put plan in motion

Minister looking to see how St Angela's and NUI Galway can work together

Harry Keaney

Published 17/09/2013|16:27

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Senator Susan O’Keeffe, Prof Nollaig MacCongail, registrar and deputy president of NUI Galway; Ruairi Quinn, Minister for Education; and Dr Anne Taheny, president, St Angela’s College.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn wants to see a "very detailed plan" by October 1st outlining how St Angela's College in Sligo and NUI Galway will continue to work together.

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Although the future of St Angela's as a higher educational institution seems safe for now, it will have to operate in a vastly changed environment.

Last year, there had been fears for the future of St Angela's because of a proposal that its teacher education be moved to Galway.

But with that threat averted, St Angela's and NUIG must now show how they will continue their relationship, one that has grown since 1978.

Asked about the future of St Angela's during a visit to the college last Wednesday, Minister Quinn said: "The educational institution that is here will remain here."

But he added: "Its structural relationship to NUIG will evolve."

In an interview with The Sligo Champion, he said he had asked all of the 19 different educational institutions around the country what steps they were going to take to fit into a new reconfiguration he had endorsed.

He said: "Those 19 will become, in effect, six organisations but many of them will be on a number of different campuses.

"St Angela's will become a constituent college in an integrated way with NUIG"

The Minister said he was expecting St Angela's and NUIG to come back to him by the end of September and the beginning of October with a very detailed plan as to how they propose to have a single overall institution but with a constituent college at St Angela's.

He added: "I am not telling them what to do. I am saying this is where you have to get to.

"You decide how best to do it yourself."

However, he said for initial teacher education for second-level home economics, St Angela's was "the only place we have in the country."

He continued: "By virtue of that alone guarantees it will exist.

"We are not going to build another one somewhere else.

"But as to the exact nature of the relationship between St Angela's and Galway and the savings and economies of scale and everything else, I want to see a plan from them as to how they propose to do it."

St Angela's President Dr Anne Taheny pointed out that earlier this year, the college celebrated its 60th anniversary.

She pointed out how the college had gone from providing one degree programme for 100 students to 40 NUI-accredited programmes for almost 1,100 students.

Dr Taheny also highlighted the importance of the reinstatement of funding for a €4m Link Building project at St Angela's.

She added: "In reflecting on our past, it compels us also to look forward and embrace the change that is an inevitable part of our future development."

Sligo Champion

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