Monday, 9 January 2012

College, it’s only for the educated…

WHEN it comes to teacher training it is safe to say that Norn Iron has a monopoly on how we educate teach our teachers to teach our children. First there was Stranmillis College, which may became part of Queen’s University, Belfast. Then we have St Mary’s College.

So we have two institutions, one of which may become part of a larger institution, and some sort of confusion about who agrees with whom and what is to be done about it.

So, while the rest of the MLAs are still slumbering before their 9 January return, the Committee for Employment and Learning were grilling their Minister, Alliance MLA, Dr Stephen Farry.

Jim Allister was having a go about alleged levels of support for the merger of Stranmillis with QUB, while from the SDLP came a charge of social engineering.

So, no-one wants to merge and those black-hatted villains in Alliance are conspiring to have our teachers educated in some way that has as yet to be outlined.

Frankly, in the statelet that is Norn Iron, a devolved region of a Euro-doubtful UK, and on an island floating at the edge of the Euro dead zone, this isn’t so much a case of re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, but actively seeking icebergs to crash into at full speed with this duplication of resources over what RE lessons are to be taught to teachers to teach the young impressionable minds.

How many teachers do we need? That’s an easy one. With Education Minister John O’Dowd of Sinn Féin planning a slash and burn of school numbers, the answer will be ‘not as many as before’. How many human resources departments, ICT systems and various premises do we need to train our teachers? Now we didn’t do advanced mathematics, but we’re pretty sure the number is one.

So a realistic way forward is to have one – yes one – institution to train our teachers, managed through a larger entity producing efficient governance. But as there will always be some numptie wanting to parade his or her political or religious colours to gain a vote or two, we have come up with a new name: “St Mary’s College for fenians, located on the Orange lovin’ Stranmillis campus to be sold on to a property developer by Queen’s University, Belfast where teachers can learn about how to incorporate bias into teaching Irish history depending on what school they want to teach in”.

We admit it’s a bit long-winded, but it’ll catch on in time.

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