Page last updated at 12:07 GMT, Wednesday, 7 May 2008 13:07 UK

Teacher college merger criticised

By Maggie Taggart
BBC NI education correspondent

Queen's University Belfast
Stranmillis and Queen's already have links

MLAs have criticised the proposed merger of Stranmillis University College and Queen's University.

The decision to merge was in reaction to severe warnings about the future viability of teacher training colleges in Northern Ireland.

The Employment and Learning Committee heard evidence from the minister Sir Reg Empey.

Sir Reg warned the college that the merger will need new legislation, which is not guaranteed to go through.

He also said the chairman of Stranmillis had written to apologise for the way in which news of the merger had been announced.

Committee members also told the minister of concerns that there were flaws in their predicted figures for the number of pupils coming into schools, and therefore the number of new teachers needed.

The minister defended the figures saying there is a surplus of teachers and it would be morally wrong to train more teachers than were needed.

He said there were already between 60 and 120 applications for each teaching post.

Stranmillis, Queens are to merge
17 Apr 08 |  Northern Ireland
Teaching college looks at merger
17 Apr 08 |  Northern Ireland

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