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Hibernia College planning to train 5,000 teachers in Haiti

Hibernia College, the online education institute that trains national teachers in Ireland, is chasing new opportunities abroad and is preparing to train up to 5,000 teachers in Haiti over the next two years.

The college, founded by Dr Sean Rowland in 1999, has more than 7,000 students in 30 countries and is increasingly focusing on overseas expansion opportunities.

Dr Rowland, who has been working to develop the National Institute for Teacher Education in Haiti for more than three years, hopes it will shortly begin to recruit between 3,000 and 5,000 teachers to train them in a newly developed programme due to start this autumn.

"We presented the final blueprint to the government last week" he said.

It will target teachers who are already in schools in an effort to improve the quality of education in Haiti through a specially devised programme devised by Haitians in association with Hibernia that will be taught in French and Creole.

Microsoft and Hewlett Packard are offering technical assistance so that the teachers can participate in the programmes. Funds to support their training have been pledged by international donors such as the International American Development Bank, the World Bank and Denis O'Brien's mobile phone company Digicel.

Hibernia, which has an office in London, trains teachers in every county in the UK and has also won an EU-wide bid to provide education programmes across Europe.

"We need to look at how Irish educational institutions can work more closely with international partners and not rely so heavily on government as it doesn't have the money" he said.

It is training teachers in South Africa and is rolling out a new pharma-training programme out of Switzerland.

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