Institute of Education in PUC takeover

 

One of the largest private second-level colleges in the State, the Institute of Education, has acquired another private college as part of its continuing expansion.

The institute, owned by Mr Raymond Kearns, who also owns the third-level institute, Portobello College, has purchased the Pre-University Centre (PUC) in Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin. The purchase price was not disclosed.

The 150 students at PUC will now get tuition at the institute, and it is understood many of its 20 teachers will be offered a chance to teach there. Mr Kearns now becomes one the largest providers of private education in the Republic. His closest competitor is Bruce College, which has schools in Dublin, Limerick and Belfast.

The owners of PUC are three teachers who took over the school, which caters for fifth and sixth years and repeats, after the previous owners, Newman College, went into liquidation in 1994. They are Mr Keith Rowe, Ms Eileen O'Duffy and Mr Ruairi O'Brien. They are planning to move into electronic publishing and have established a company to promote a new website, leavingcert.net

The Institute of Education has been at the forefront of developing private second-level education since its establishment in 1969. It advertises widely, citing the standards of its teachers and the quality of its notes for students. But it has been criticised by many mainstream schools for offering intensive "grinds" during Easter and Christmas.

It has between 700 and 800 day students. About 1,300 students attend courses on Saturdays, and more than 3,000 are understood to take crash courses at Easter in Leaving Certificate subjects.

A recent survey of mainly middle-class pupils by Student Enrichment Services found that about 73 per cent of sixth-year pupils get additional tuition at private colleges.

Emmet Oliver can be reached at eoliver@irish-times.ie