Funding for SCoTENS denied by North Ireland

Northern Ireland civil service commission denied the funding request by the Standing Conference on Teacher Education, North and South (SCoTENS).

What is SCoTENS?

A cross-body organization established in 2003, for the common interest of teacher education in both Northern and Southern Ireland. The Standing Conference on Teacher Education, North and South is a group of 24 colleges, universities, teaching councils, curriculum heads, education unions, and education facilities on the island of Ireland.

SCoTENS creates a safe environment for teachers in South and North Ireland to discuss education issues and possibilities of working closely with each other. The main focus of this joint cross-body organization is to nurture and improve the quality of teaching in both parts of Ireland.

The organization has also contributed to several research studies, teacher conferences, exchange projects since it was established in 2003. Here are some of the activities that SCoTENS promotes for the past few years:

  • Seed Funding programs – promotes and helps fund multiple research-based projects for the benefit of North-and-South partnership.
  • Student Teacher exchange programs – giving student teachers from either side of Dublin to share and as well as learn different teaching perspectives through the process of exchange programs. The project is open for all higher education institutions which are part of the cross-border body.
  • Annual conferences – it is an annual gathering of teachers in Ireland. This conference also serves as a forum for voicing out education issues and concerns wherein participating teachers can interact, share ideas, do constructive analysis and promote collaboration between the Southern and Northern Ireland educators.

Northern Ireland funding

Since 2017, the Northern Ireland funding has been withdrawn from SCoTENS. The NI has an annual contribution to the organization of £25,000.

SCoTENS officials have been constantly in contact with North Ireland education heads in order to appeal the reinstating of their support for the organization.

The symbolic value of this help from North Ireland government far exceeds its material value in terms of North-and-South collaborative projects.

The North Ireland government issued its reply,

Regrettably, just like any other government department in North Ireland, we are experienceing financial pressure and cannot afford to spend additional government funds in supporting SCoTENS at this time.
Again, we would like to express our deeepst gratitude for the contribution the body has made in bridging education opportunities for North-and-South Ireland.

– David Sterling, Head of Northern Ireland Civil Service

The organization understand the situation the NI government is experiencing, but still keeping their hopes high that funds will eventually replenish for NI. After all, this is for the common interest of North-and-South Ireland education improvement.