Mary Immaculate College has reaffirmed its commitment to widening access to higher education for those most distanced from access to higher education opportunities, for reasons linked to age, nationality, ethnicity and socio-economic or cultural attributes.
Making this pledge was Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC, who was speaking at the annual Adult Education Awards ceremony at MIC which this year saw 21 mature learners from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds graduate from MIC’s adult access programmes, the Teacher Education Access Course and the Pre-University Programme.
The Pre-University Programme (PUP) is a forty-hour certificate programme offered in conjunction with Our Lady of Lourdes Community Services Group. The Pre-University Programme is delivered in the community and is aimed at adult learners, over the age of 22, whose educational experiences and opportunities in their earlier years may have been limited, and who wish to continue their education, with a view to attending third level through creating a progressive pathway into university level education. For many, it may also serve as a stepping-stone to an access or foundation programme such as MIC’s Foundation Certificate.
Congratulating this year’s graduates Dr Paul O’Brien, Course Coordinator said ‘‘The Pre-University Programme is an innovative and accessible introduction to third-level studies. The programme consists of two modules: local history and an introduction to academic writing. Our students learn research and writing skills and there are two fieldtrips – including a visit to a local museum and archive, where they engage in onsite research. Many of our students have successfully progressed on to the BA programme”.
Graduating from the programme was Patricia Ryan from Garryown, Limerick, said: "It was a fantastic and engaging learning experience, I wished the course went on longer! The classes were relaxed and welcoming and we were taught how to write essays to a third-level standard. The field trips were an added bonus - bringing the course material to life".
The Teacher Education Access Course for Mature Learners is a part-time programme for adult learners and is unique in the Irish higher education system. The course, offered by MIC in partnership with the LCETB, Adult Education Service, is designed for mature learners who wish to gain entry to the B Ed. (Primary Education) at the College. The course is aimed at anyone over the age of 22 by January 1st on the year of application, who is interested in applying to the B Ed (Primary Education) and who does not hold the minimum entry requirements. Those who successfully complete the course and fulfil the minimum entry requirements for the B Ed are offered a place on the BED (Primary) Degree programme in MIC. This year sees the second group of graduates from the course graduating from the B Ed programme in October at the annual MIC conferring ceremonies.
According to Margaret O’Keeffe, Course Coordinator said: “TEAP enables the dream of becoming a teacher a reality by providing an access route for mature students to become primary teachers”.
Speaking on her experience of the course, one of the participants Laura Williams from Kildimo, Co Limerick said: “Without this access course my dream of being a teacher would have just remained a dream, however thanks to the TEAP course I am now bridging the gaps in my education to secure my place in teaching. The course offers invaluable support and has exceeded all my expectations. For anybody who wishes to return to education and become a teacher this course is a must. Applying for this course was the best decision I ever made!”
Congratulating all the graduates Professor Eugene Wall, President of MIC said; “Education involves a major transition in a mature student’s life. It is a journey of personal growth and self-transformation. I know that many of you faced great personal challenges while participating in this course. By getting to this point, you have demonstrated immense commitment. I wish to commend each and every one of you on your hard work, perseverance and dedication. Your wonderful achievement is encapsulated in the certificate”.
Continuing, he confirmed MIC’s commitment to increasing participation rates by people at all stages of the life-cycle stages. In keeping with MIC’s Strategic Plan 2023, he pledged to “engage with external stakeholders focused on the promotion of wider participation in higher education, placing a special focus on those most distanced from access to higher education opportunities, for reasons linked to age, nationality, ethnicity and socio-economic or cultural attributes.”
Earlier this year MIC launched new launched new Further Education (FE) routes into two of its post-primary teaching degrees in MIC Thurles as well as a new direct entry route for the College’s BA in Contemporary and Applied Theatre Studies (CATS) at MIC Limerick. These new entry routes follow on from the success of MIC’s already established further education routes into both their BA Arts and BA in Early Childhood Care and Education programmes. Further information on these routes available here.
Bringing the ceremony to an end Professor Wall paid special tribute to the staff of Mary Immaculate College for their involvement in the planning and delivery of these courses and for the impressive network of support services they provide the students with.
Further information on applications is available from the Admissions Office at Mary Immaculate College.