A NEW academic alliance with the University of Limerick will offer a degree status to teaching college graduates in Tipperary.
Degree programmes at St Patrick’s College in Thurles will be accredited by the University of Limerick from 2012.
UL president Prof Don Barry said: “This agreement recognises opportunities for delivery of an enhanced suite of education programmes in St Patrick’s College that will be consistent with UL’s expertise in teacher education.”
The president of St Patrick’s, Fr Tom Fogarty said the alliance “truly marks the beginning of a new era for the college and the extension of University education beyond the major cities”.
“This partnership brings huge value to St Patrick’s College.
“The offer of University- level degrees strengthens our identity and will attract a wide cross-section of students to enrich our culture further,” he said. “We provide a welcoming, inclusive and quality learning environment for students and strongly believe in a ‘values led’ education.”
Meanwhile, Prof Barry said UL was the largest provider of post-primary teacher education in the State, with education students accounting for nearly one in ten students at UL.
“We put a great deal of time and energy into pedagogy at UL and we have recognised a similar commitment in the education programmes atSt Patrick’s College.”
St Patrick’s College was established as a third level College of Education in 2004.
Graduates of the college are registered with the Teaching Council and qualified to teach business, accounting, religious studies and Irish to honours Leaving Certificate level, depending on their programme choice.
Last year a governing board was appointed to St Patrick’s College with responsibility for strategic development.
Its chairperson Robbie Kelleher said, against a backdrop of a decline in applications to the CAO, St Patrick’s College had again this year recorded double-digit increases in the number of applicants and first preference choices for its degree courses.
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