Quotas for teacher training courses not the solution to teacher shortage in our schools

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
04 September 2018

Labour Party Education spokesperson, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has said putting quotas in place in teacher-training courses are not the answer to help ease the crisis in our schools

Senator Ó Ríordáin said:

“While in theory, providing more teaching places for physics, languages and maths graduates is a good idea, in reality this will not inspire more graduates of these disciplines to consider teaching as a profession.

“The real way to encourage more graduates into the teaching, especially at second level, is by ending the two-tier pay structure in our schools.

“For months, I have been calling on the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, to produce a roadmap to pay equality in the teaching profession. Not a month goes by that we don’t hear that the teacher shortage is reaching tipping point. The reasons for the teacher shortage especially in STEM subjects is not because of the lack of college places, it is because STEM graduates can get a better quality of life in a different profession.

“Starting salaries for a STEM graduate are usually extremely competitive, making more places for an expensive two year Masters in teaching, where the starting salary is not comparable, is not the answer to the problems when it comes to ensuring more science teachers in our schools.

“We know from surveys carried out by the TUI that just under 50% of new teachers don’t see themselves teaching in ten years time because of pay. It is completely pointless to try to lure high-skilled graduates from science and language backgrounds if current young teachers do not see themselves in the profession in ten years time.

“If the Minister truly wants an excellent education system he needs excellent motivated teachers who are encouraged to remain in Ireland to teach after they graduate. We hear many reports of newly-qualified teachers heading to the Middle East for better pay and conditions. This is not good enough.”

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