Letter from TUI President Seamus Lahart on teacher retention issues in Irish Times

By piofficer, Wednesday, 25th July 2018 | 0 comments

Sir, – Proposals to put in place courses or other mechanisms to convert primary teachers to second-level teachers (News, July 23rd) should not be allowed to distract from the root cause of the recruitment and retention crisis afflicting second-level schools across Ireland.

Ending the pay discrimination suffered by those employed since 2011 is the only guaranteed way of ensuring the retention of those teachers currently working in the system and the recruitment of the high-quality graduates needed for the future.

A Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) survey carried out earlier this year showed that 46 per cent of recent entrants to second-level teaching did not see themselves in the job in 10 years.

However, if pay equality was fully restored, 94 per cent said that they would still be working in the profession in 10 years. These teachers typically enter the system burdened with significant debt after a six-year unpaid training period.

It is completely unacceptable that, for carrying out the same work, they are then on a pay rate that is inferior to that of their colleague across the corridor.

Severe recruitment and retention difficulties are evident both across the country and across a broad range of subjects including, but not limited to, science, mathematics, modern languages, Irish and home economics. This reflects the collapse in applications for the professional master of education, two-year teacher training courses.

Piecemeal, “sticking plaster” measures will not resolve these worsening problems. Regardless of how new entrants are recruited into the system, the retention crisis being experienced by schools as a result of teachers leaving for other jurisdictions or better-paid employments will worsen until the scandal of pay discrimination is ended.

Finally, it is extremely regrettable that that there is no teacher voice on the steering group that has been tasked with examining this crisis. Those who best know the scale and reasons for the problem are, once again, excluded. – Yours, etc,

SEAMUS LAHART,

President,

TUI,

Rathgar

Dublin 6.

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