Education and Learning Minister Stephen Farry has warned that Northern Ireland is training too many teachers.
He believes the answer is to merge training institutions or encourage them to share facilities on non-denominational lines.
"We would like to see a much more integrated system of teacher training in Northern Ireland," the minister (right) said. He suggested the system should be replaced by one where teachers could be trained together for all schools.
"We may well have different sectors in the schools system but it does not follow that teachers need to be educated separately. Any teacher professionally trained must be capable of teaching in any environment irrespective of his or her own background and belief."
Five institutions train teachers in Northern Ireland.
They are St Mary's College (with a Catholic ethos), Stranmillis College, Queen's University, the University of Ulster and the Open University.
At present the two universities have a religiously mixed intake of trainee teachers, and the intake at Stranmillis was 32% Catholic and 65% Protestant last year. But 99% of students who enrolled at St Mary's were Catholic. The overall intake was 55% Catholic and 38% Protestant.
At present only St Mary's can offer a Certificate of Catholic Education, necessary to teach in Catholic schools, as part of its curriculum.
This, Minister Farry argued, gives St Mary's students an advantage because they were qualified to apply for jobs in all schools.
"We will be looking at that in the second stage of the teacher training review" he said.
A review of St Mary's and Stranmillis is due at the end of June. One possible measure would be to merge Stranmillis with Queen's. Another would be to merge it with St Marys or to encourage "use of facilities and shared teaching".
He argued St Mary's and Stranmillis had moved beyond teacher training in order to remain viable.
He said: "We are not here to protect the interests of institutions.
We are here to train teachers for the future education system of Northern Ireland."
The Department of Education, held by Sinn Féin's John O'Dowd, sets the number of teacher training places while DEL funds them. Mr O'Dowd cut places in the two universities by 20% while preserving the numbers at St Mary's and Stranmillis. Open University places were also preserved.