International report endorses work of teachers and lecturers

By piofficer, Tuesday, 11th September 2018 | 0 comments

The latest OECD international indicators – Education At A Glance 2018 – highlight the excellent work of Irish teachers and lecturers. Once again, the report emphasises the value of educational attainment to both the individual and society.

The findings make clear that the disadvantaged suffer when education budgets are cut.

This morning, TUI President Seamus Lahart outlined some the report’s key findings.

More teaching hours for Irish teachers, high ratio of staff to students

‘At upper secondary, teachers in Irish second level schools teach considerably more than the respective OECD and European averages of 657 and 635 hours. Finland, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy and Spain are among the European countries with lower numbers of teaching hours. Compulsory instruction time is also high above OECD and European averages.’

‘At third level, the ratio of students to teaching staff of 21:1 is considerably higher than the OECD and EU22 averages of 15:1.’

Failure to invest in education is an attack on the most vulnerable

‘Ireland is bottom of the pile in terms of total expenditure on educational institutions, with just 3.3% of GDP compared invested here compared to the OECD and EU averages of 4.5% and 4.2%. At second level, our spend is just 1.1% of GDP compared to the OECD average of 2%.

As the report makes clear, it is those from disadvantaged backgrounds who suffer most from flatlining or declining education budgets. The failure of successive Irish governments to invest appropriately in Irish education is a sustained attack on the most vulnerable in communities across the country.

Investment in education pays huge dividends to society in terms of increased tax and social contributions and to the individual in terms of better life prospects.’

Salary data tells only part of the story

‘The starting salary for a full-time teacher at second level in Ireland is in line with the OECD and EU average. In fact, the Irish starting salary is actually less than the OECD average for upper secondary. Even then, this only tells part of the story as it is the exception rather than the rule that a second level teacher in the Irish education system would start on full hours. A TUI survey carried out earlier this year among teachers who entered the profession after 2011 found that just one in five commenced employment on a contract of full hours.’

Further and adult education sector offers solution to worrying NEET figures

‘Of concern is the rise, since 2007, in numbers of those between 15 and 29 years old neither employed nor in education (NEETs) in Ireland. The country’s publicly-funded further and adult education sector must be appropriately funded and promoted to help tackle this drift.’

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