A Taghmon man is spearheading a new ground-breaking project designed to create more diversity in Irish schools by providing teachers from other countries with additional training to help them obtain jobs.
Dr. Rory McDaid of the Marino Institute of Education in Dublin has developed a new bridging programme along with his colleague Dr. Emer Nowlan, from which the first students graduated last week.
A total of 34 teachers from 17 different countries including two teachers from the UK based in Wexford, graduated from the Migrant Teacher Project at a ceremony in the Marina Institute which attended by the Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh.
All the participants are Immigrant Internationally Educated Teachers (IIET's) who are qualified primary or post-primary teachers in their home countries including Spain, India, Brazil, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Croatia, South Africa, USA, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Russia, Iceland, Romania, Lithuania and Latvia.
The new programme established in 2017, was designed to provide them with additional knowledge and confidence to teach in Irish schools. Nearly half of the graduates have already ben offered employment for the coming year.
'The experience, knowledge and skills that these teachers are bringing to our education system is invaluable', said Minister McHugh.
'They are bringing a new dimension to classrooms with a diversity of perspectives and expertise that will benefit our children and our education system for many years to come.'
Minister of State with special responsibility for Equality, Immigrant and Integration, David Stanton, said that for successful integration, school staff rooms must reflect the diversity of the student population.
As part of the programme, school principals were drafted in to offer guidance on the recruitment process and provide opportunities for teachers to gain work experience in schools.
Dr. McDaid is a lecturer in the Sociology of Education and Research Methods in Marino and has a specialist interest in inter-cultural education. He is co-author of a publication called 'All Changed? Culture and Identity in Contemporary Ireland'. He said research clearly shows that there are huge benefits to having a diverse teaching population, not just for children from minority backgrounds but for all children and all schools.
The Migrant Teacher Project was established in 2017 to increase the participation of IIET's in the Irish primary and post-primary education sectors.
It is supported by the Department of Justice and Equality through the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration's National Funding Programme.The project provides information, advice and training to teachers who have qualified outside of Ireland, to help them to continue their profession in Irish primary and post-primary schools.