Hibernia College founder Dr. Sean Rowland said most of the growth will come in the United States, England and other European countries in academic, administrative and technological departments of the college.

Consequently, Rowland said he encourages Irish teachers to explore abroad and to get experience, and then return to Ireland to teach long-term. The current need for teachers in Ireland is small, but Rowland said there is need for 16 million teachers worldwide.

Hibernia College has more than 7,000 students in 30 countries worldwide, acting as an influencial institution in the future of education as it trains new primary teachers and also provides job opportunities to experienced teachers.

The college has overcome vast skepticism from other Irish schools: in a joint statement, nine colleges of education said online education would bring down the education standards, diminish the professional status of the teaching career and endanger the livelihood of primary school students.

But founder Rowland overcame odds and assured doubters that the training program at Hibernia College is “rigorous,” accepting one out of four teachers who interview for positions at the school.

Fine Gael political party leader Edna Kenny said Hibernia College showcases how Ireland and technology can come together to provide jobs within the country as Ireland “spread its global wings.”

Rowland has high hopes for the future of education in Ireland.  He said the Irish government should be cautious about cutting educational funds, as cuts in funding could affect entire generations to come.

The forward-thinking founder said colleges like Hibernia help business abroad and increase the reputation of Irish education, giving the country potential to become a future international education hub.

Hibernia College now trains more primary teachers than any other college in Ireland, expanding to offer training in pharmaceutical medicine and financial management, and undertaking the process of offering online training for post-primary teachers.

Transitioning into training of secondary teachers in England, Hibernia College has not experienced the initial controversy they faced with primary training in Ireland. In fact, Canterbury Christ Church University has partnered with Hibernia to provide online tuition for Math, Physics and Chemistry teachers.

Perhaps the key to Hibernia College’s success is the approach of “blended learning,” in which students participate in both online and in-person educational training: the college provides online lectures that students can download at their leisure, live online tutorials and online forums, but they also offer in-personal education seminars at local centers.

Additionally, the field of elearning has grown in Ireland as the accessibility to broadband Internet has expanded.

Rowland said Hibernia College courses are a good fit for people who with other essential responsibilities, such as those who do not want to give up their jobs or have child-rearing responsibilities, since the online school allows students to receive training on their own schedule.

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