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Ministers for Education in Ireland & Northern Ireland seek to strengthen and reform role of teacher educator

18.02.2013, 07:05 GMT

Second major Education Event of the Irish Presidency takes place in Dublin Castle on Feb 18th/19th

The Minister for Education & Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D. and his Northern Ireland counterpart, Minister John O’Dowd M.L.A will open a conference on the role of teacher educators in Dublin Castle today (Monday 18th Feb 2013).

This conference entitled, “Integration, Innovation and Improvement – the Professional Identity of Teacher Educators” is being held as part of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.  It is being hosted by the Teaching Council. 

The conference is aimed at improving policy support for the teacher educator profession and exploring ways of strengthening and reforming the role of teacher educators from initial teacher education to continuous professional development.

Teacher educators are educationalists who actively facilitate the formal learning of student teachers and teachers.  The issue of the quality of teacher educators has been identified by the European Commission and Member States as being a very important contributor to overall quality within education systems.

Minister Quinn said, “The quality of our education system cannot exceed the quality of our teachers and this is why the role of the teacher educator is so crucial in terms of maintaining and improving teacher quality – even at a time of limited financial resources.  I look forward to hearing contributions from across the EU from policy makers and educationalists on how all member states can develop better policy supports for this important profession.”

Minister O’Dowd said, “Challenges for school leaders also present challenges for Teacher Educators.  In looking at how we can bring about improvement, it is important to look at and learn from the education systems of other countries.  I therefore welcome the engagement of Teacher Educators from so many countries at this conference.”

This conference will seek to make the professional identity of all teacher educators explicit and will address the following questions:

  • Who is the teacher educator?
  • What do they do?
  • How can we develop the profession of teacher educators?
  • How can we support them?

Tomás Ó Ruairc, Director of the Teaching Council, said, “On behalf of the Teaching Council, I am delighted to welcome our colleagues in education from across the EU to Dublin for this EU Presidency Conference. We look forward to a rich discussion on teacher educators that will enthuse and inform us all as we seek to further enhance the quality of teachers’ lifelong learning. This will benefit the quality of teaching and learning for all our students and learners in the EU.” 

As well as an EU wide focus, the conference also has an Irish North/South dimension.  Details of a successful project involving teachers from both sides of the Irish border co-operating on school placements will be outlined. 

The issues relating to teacher education were last specifically addressed at European Council level in 2009, in the Council Conclusions of the Swedish Presidency on the professional development of teachers and school leaders, and again at the recent ministerial policy debate under the Cyprus Presidency on improving teacher quality and status at a time of scarce financial resources.

Some 180 delegates from across the EU are expected to attend.  The conclusions of the conference will contribute to Presidency Council conclusions. 

Watch the event Live:

The conference will be live-streamed and available to view on the Dublin Castle website (details below).  
(Please note the stream will not go live until 30 minutes before the start of the conference. Workshops will not be streamed.)

Live-streaming details 

  1. Click on
  2. Select ‘Event Room 1’
  3. Enter the details for Monday / Tuesday below
  4. You will then be able to view the live stream.

Monday, 18 February - Username: eu2013 / Password: 0218a1

Tuesday, 19 February - Username: eu2013 / Password: 0218a2

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picture of Deirdre Grant, Director of Communications,

Deirdre Grant, Director of Communications, (Education)




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