Catholic and Protestant teachers will train alongside each other in a new institute announced by the Irish Government last week.
The Institute of Education will replace the Catholic St Patrick’s College and Mater Dei Institute as well as the Church of Ireland College of Education and operate under Dublin City University.
The move was announced by the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn last week in a document “A New Vision of Education for all the Children of Ireland.”
Speaking at the launch the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin said the new institute reflected something of how the future of education in Ireland is progressing and how people wish it to progress in a pluralist society.
“Pluralism should not produce negative rivalry or antagonism or give rise to elitism or social division, or a culture which seeks to maintain positions based on narrow ideologies,” he said.
The multidenominational institute will train teachers for the Catholic Church, Church of Ireland and other Christian traditions and will provide ongoing development for teachers and educators.
The move has not been welcomed by everyone, with Dr Ciarán Ó Coigligh, at St Patrick's, describing it as “a takeover” and giving into those who “promote a secularist agenda.”
He said: “It is stated that the core curriculum will be ‘denominationally neutral’. This is a blatant contradiction of the essence of Christian education which requires that the denominational ethos permeates the whole teaching and learning experience.”
Above: Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. Photo: CNS photo/Paul Haring