Up to 3,600 unqualified people have worked in Irish schools

Edina Zejnilovic

up to 3,600 unqualified or unregistered teachers have been employed by schools to cover absences due to career breaks or sick leave in 2016/17.

A total of 32,000 days were covered by these unqualified individuals during the academic year, which has said to be causing severe disruption to some students.

An unregistered person may only be appointed as a last resort where “no registered teacher is available to take up the position in question”, the Department of Education said in a statement. However, unregistered individuals cannot be paid from public funds for a period of more than five school days.

“The unequal pay structures for new teachers coupled with the prevalence of temporary and part-time teaching contracts and a lack of job security means that many teachers consider changing professions or moving to other countries,” ASTI Media & Communications Officer, Gemma Tuffy said.

“The solution to teacher shortages lies in ensuring teaching has a dignified entry route including equal pay structures and access to secure jobs.  The Department of Education & Skills must also ensure it implements the recommendations set out in the recent report on Teacher Supply in Ireland,” Tuffy said when asked what the Department of Education could do to avoid teacher shortages.

“Teaching is no longer able to attract the best graduates, especially in Irish, Home Economics, technical subjects and foreign languages,” Duffy said. “There is a very simple fix. They need to accelerate pay, it is just unacceptable for 2 colleagues to receive a different amount of pay.”

The shortage of qualified teachers is linked to the high number of young teachers taking career breaks. “A lot of teachers are moving to the likes of the Middle East and this goes back to cost of accommodation and housing in Ireland. They usually go and come back after a while, but now there is a risk that they won’t come back,” said Tuffy.

The recent OECD Education at a Glance report stated that countries wishing to increase the supply of teachers might consider offering attractive starting wages and career prospects. “Let’s hope the Irish Government listens to this before it is too late,” said Tuffy.

Edina Zejnilovic

Image Credit: King Hospital