Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has accepted proposals for a radical restructuring of teacher training provision.

An international panel has recommended that the 19 teacher training centres be replaced by just six.

The reduction would be achieved through closures and mergers.

Under one of the recommendations, St Patrick’s College in Dublin is to be integrated along with Mater Dei into Dublin City University.

In the report, the panel suggested that this new centre be located at St Patrick’s Drumcondra campus.

The panel also recommended that Trinity College, University College Dublin, the National College of Art and Design and the Marino Institute should form another entity, located possibly on the existing Marino campus.

Mary Immaculate College in Limerick and the teacher training at Limerick Institute of Technology would integrate into the University of Limerick.

The report recommended that Cork Institute of Technology teacher education be integrated into University College Cork and that teacher training in Letterfrack, Co Galway and Thurles, Co Tipperary be discontinued.

It also recommended that St Angela's College in Sligo, which trains Home Economics teachers, be moved to NUI Galway.

The report went to Cabinet yesterday and Mr Quinn will ask the Higher Education Authority to draw up an implementation plan.

The panel was chaired by Finnish education expert Pasi Sahlberg and was commissioned by Mr Quinn in April to review the structure of teacher education provision.

The panel recommended that teachers need to be trained in environments where there is a "culture of research" that would encourage more inquiry and critical thought among students.

The report criticised the over-reliance on part-time staff in many of the existing colleges, and expressed "surprise and concern" that the issue of teacher supply and demand was not being addressed.

It said the academic standard of applicants to teacher training courses in Ireland was among the highest, if not the highest, in the world.

However, it said teachers need to be challenged and developed to their full potential.

The report noted that all teachers in Finland complete education to Masters level in research-based universities and this should be a long-term aspiration for Ireland.