Interview with Hibernia College President – Call For Questions

by admin on 06/01/2013

Seomra Ranga is delighted to announce that Dr. Seán Rowland, President of Hibernia College, has kindly agreed to be the next subject in our interview series.


Dr. Seán Rowland, was born in Castlebar, County Mayo. Having attended St. Patrick’s College in Dublin, he taught at primary school level for five years before travelling to the US to attend Boston College. Here he was awarded a Masters Degree in Curriculum, Instruction and Administration. He then pursued and completed his Ph.D. in Curriculum Instruction and Administration (CIA) with a focus on educational finance within the CIA programme. Dr. Rowland also holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

In 2000, Dr. Rowland brought together his colleagues from the corporate, education and technological communities to create Hibernia College, Ireland’s first and only, accredited online third-level institution. In 2003, the college commenced what is currently its best known programme, the Higher Diploma in Arts in Primary Education, training primary school teachers. At present, the programme has grown to the point where it now provides more primary school teachers each year than any other course in the country.

Suggestions for Interview Questions

This is where visitors to the website can become involved. Seán has kindly agreed to take questions from visitors to the website. As in previous interviews, you can submit suggested questions for him via the Facebook or Twitter pages, or by posting a comment at the bottom of this post. These questions must not be of a specific nature but about points in general in relation to education in Ireland, primary teacher training and the work of Hibernia College. Questions should also not be of a personal nature, they must not relate to your individual school and should be succinct and to the point. I will collate / edit /amalgamate these and submit them to Seán for answers / comments. I will then put his answers together into a post on the Seomra Ranga website.

This is a great opportunity for practising teachers to put questions directly to the President of Hibernia College, so I hope that we can get a wide range of questions from the the teaching community. I wish to express my appreciation to Seán for agreeing to submit himself to questioning through the Seomra Ranga website.

Please insert your suggestions for questions below:

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Helen bullock January 6, 2013 at 12:38 pm

How can you justify increasing the intakes of graduate student teachers with every cohort when so many teachers are still looking for employment??

Many of them past Hibernia students.

How can you justify two cohorts a year when there just isn’t work available after graduation?

admin January 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm

This question came in from Damian White on Twitter:

To what extent are Hibernia College working with other Teaching Colleges to ensure a standardised approach to marking Student Teachers ?

Sandra Doody January 6, 2013 at 2:33 pm

In the UK, Science is a core subject in the UK Primary School Curriculum. Do you think that Ireland should make Science a core teaching subject and increase its allocation of teaching time?

admin January 7, 2013 at 6:52 pm

This question came in today via email:

Have the college any plans to curtail their intake of students to suit the current demands for teachers or will they continue to take in as many students as will pay the fees?

Lynne Kilgallen January 10, 2013 at 10:41 am

As a Hibernia College student myself, I feel embarrassed by the amount of teachers that Hibernia College are “churning” through the system. Its not fair that the college continue to take in students just because they are willing to pay fees. A more rigorous application system should be put in place to stop people becoming teachers just because they don’t know what else to do. I myself always wanted to be a teacher but I know of other teachers who completed Hibernia because they were tired of their old jobs and thought teaching would be a handy number!!It is only right that Hibernia College follow the other Colleges of Education and cut the numbers of teachers that are graduating. It would give all teachers who graduate through Hibernia a better name in the long run.

Daniel Horgan January 11, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Does Hibernia College have any data on the employment/unemployment rates of its Primary teaching graduates? What percentage are in temporary, permanent employment etc? What trends are emerging two or three years after graduation – what percentage have switched careers?

admin January 11, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Thanks all for those questions. I’ll incorporate them into the final set of interview questions.

Ellen Cahill January 12, 2013 at 11:34 am

In recent years it is getting more and more difficult for student teachers to secure a school in which to do their TP. I feel this is because Hibernia, unlike the other colleges, has two very large cohorts of graduates annually. Schools cannot accommodate these two cohorts, no more than the two cohorts can hope to secure employment in the current climate.

Brian Deane January 12, 2013 at 11:16 pm

What is the financial/legal status of Hibernia College? – limited company, not for profit educational foundation etc.

At present, Hibernia College charges students €8,950 to undertake its Primary teaching course. Does Hibernia receive any state subsidy or is the cost borne entirely by those students paying the fees?

In the last year for which financial accounts are available, what profit/loss was recorded by Hibernia College?

admin January 13, 2013 at 1:17 am

Brian, I can probably answer those questions for you. Hibernia is a privately owned institution which does not receive any state funding.

As far as I can ascertain, the last year for which financial records are available, 2010, the company made a gross profit of almost €4 million, a pre-tax profit of €612,000. Obviously, I am open to correction on those figures.

JP January 19, 2013 at 8:01 pm


It would be really interesting to hear the actual numbers graduated in the past and currently studying with Hibernia on both its primary and secondary courses. (Also on its LLM and undergrad courses but that’s probably less relevant to this discussion).

Employment rates (as teachers) would also be interesting.

It’s often stated that Hibernia operated at no cost to the state, but does this take into account the college’s substantial use of state resources during teaching practice?

Finally, is it true that Hibernia is registering as an Isle of Man company for tax reasons?

Many thanks,

JP February 26, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Just wondering if Sean Rowland’s interview has been published anywhere?
Many thanks,

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