New Research Centre for Public Education at Maynooth University reaffirms leadership role in Irish education studies

Prof Gert Biesta, Bruenel Universtiy London; Prof Philip Nolan and Prof Deborah Britzman, York University Toronto
Monday, October 15, 2018 - 09:30
  • New Research Centre for Public Education announced at Maynooth Education Forum
  • First BSc in Mathematics and Computer Science for future teachers unveiled

Monday, 15 October 2018 – Maynooth University today reaffirms its position as the country’s foremost provider of education studies with the announcement of a new Research Centre for Public Education and Pedagogy and the first BSc in Mathematics and Computer Science for future teachers.

The first BSc in Mathematics and Computer Science (with Education) course at Maynooth University will start in September 2019, and the first qualified graduates are expected to be ready to enter the teaching world in June 2024.  
The new initiatives were unveiled on the same day that Maynooth University holds its annual Education Forum, which attracts academics, policymakers and practitioners from around the world to discuss the role of public education in contemporary society.

President of Maynooth University, Professor Philip Nolan, officially announced plans for the new Research Centre for Public Education and Pedagogy at today’s Education Forum. The centre, based in the Faculty of Social Sciences, will be established to undertake research in relation to public education in Ireland and across the Europe.  The vision of Maynooth University is to create a space where the benefits and needs of public education systems can be examined by Maynooth academics and students, as well as visiting researchers.
Its specific objectives are to:

  • Contribute to essential public dialogue across Europe to influence real change in public education and teaching;
  • Support research into education, dissemination of information, and education of young scholars; and
  • Encourage Ireland’s education scholars to engage with visiting researchers and policy influencers to debate and inform the public about the value of public education by hosting a rich programme of visiting professors, seminars, lectures, workshops and conferences

The goals of this new initiative align closely with the topics under debate in this year’s Maynooth University Education Forum, the theme of which is ‘The Publicness of Education in our Republic.’ Bringing together speakers from around the world, this year’s Forum considers issues such as education as a public responsibility; who benefits from public education; and why so many countries have moved to privatise education.

Keynote speakers this year include internationally renowned Professor of Education at Brunel University London, Gert Biesta. In his lecture, “Parent Power, Student Power, Teacher Power? Reclaiming Education as a Public Concern,” he will make the case that success in education systems is measured on a narrow set of learning outcomes, and outline the need for a public ‘ownership’ of education based on input from every level of society.

Distinguished Research Professor at York University, Toronto, Deborah P. Britzman will deliver her lecture “Affecting Concerns Under Way: Public Education as Matters of Mental Health,” in which she examines how public education affects public mental wellbeing, and how challenging social and political issues are debated and understood within a classroom setting.

Also addressing the Forum are Professor of Education in Maynooth University, Aislinn O'Donnell, who has developed creative research and teaching projects that seek to introduce philosophy to settings such as prisons, probation and drug projects; and academic Professor Kathleen Lynch, who played a key role in establishing the UCD Equality Studies Centre in 1990 and the UCD School of Social Justice in 2005.

Commenting on this year’s Maynooth University Education Forum, President of Maynooth University, Professor Philip Nolan, said: “Maynooth University has a unique place in the Irish education system as the nation’s foremost educator of future teachers. It is fitting that this year’s Education Forum should examine education as a public responsibility serving every level of society, and that it should coincide with the announcement of our Research Centre for Public Education and Pedagogy. In this way, Maynooth University continues its role at the centre of public education, research and debate in Ireland, and across Europe.”

Also unveiled today, Maynooth University’s new BSc in Mathematics and Computer Science (with Education) is designed to meet the growing demand for teachers of computer science, which is now a Leaving Certificate subject.
Commenting on the new degree course, Professor Nolan said: “A total of 40 post-primary schools nationwide are now offering computer science on a pilot basis, with the first students to take computer science as part of the Leaving Certificate exams in 2020. 

“Our new degree programme in Mathematics and Computer Science (with Education) is part of Maynooth University's commitment to alleviate the significant national shortage of STEM teachers. It will provide schools with the necessary staff to make computer science studies a reality for all post-primary students in Ireland.”

The four-year BSc degree is a concurrent degree in which Mathematics, Computer Science and Education, and will be delivered in an integrated way, giving students in-depth understanding of each subject and preparing them for a classroom environment.

Successful Mathematics and Computer Science (with Education) students will be guaranteed a place in the one-year Level 9 Professional Master of Education, which will allow them to qualify to teach Honours Mathematics and Computer Science at a Leaving Certificate level.

Details of Maynooth University Education Forum are available at: