Budget 2024 must make real difference to recruitment and retention crisis and to third level funding – TUI 

By piofficer, Tuesday, 3rd October 2023 | 0 comments

Ahead of next week’s Budget, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has called for targeted investment to maintain the quality of the education service to students.  

Specifically, the Union is seeking an enhanced teaching allocation to second-level schools to allow them to offer full jobs upon initial appointments and also to offer a wider breadth of subjects, and a restoration of posts of responsibility to allow career progression and to ease ever-growing administrative burden in schools.  

In addition, the Union is calling for real investment to tackle the funding crisis at third level and appropriate resourcing for joint programmes between further and higher education. 

Speaking today, TUI President David Waters said: 

‘Next week’s Budget offers the Government a real opportunity to address a number of serious issues that threaten the education service that can be offered to students across the sectors.’  


‘Schools continue to struggle with a recruitment and retention crisis at second level. Overarching factors such as the scarcity of affordable accommodation affect all of Irish society and must be urgently dealt with on a national level, but enhancing teaching allocations to allow second-level schools to offer contracts of full hours upon initial appointment would undoubtedly help to ease the recruitment crisis.’  

‘Increasing the teacher allocation will also ensure that students have access to a wider breadth of subject choices.’  

‘A survey of teachers carried out by TUI earlier this year showed that of those recently appointed, less than a third of teachers (31%) appointed received a full-time contract, and just over one in ten teachers (13%) were offered permanent positions. This culture of precarious work is driving both potential and serving teachers away from the profession.’     


‘There is also now a serious issue with retention of teachers, with many choosing to find other forms of employment or else emigrating to teach in other jurisdictions where they feel better valued. To tackle this, there must be a restoration of posts of responsibility to allow career progression and to ease the ever-growing administrative burden in schools. These posts were cut during the last recession and have never been fully restored.’  

Third level funding crisis  

‘It is unacceptable that student to staff ratios at third level have been allowed to worsen to 23:1, a ratio significantly above the OECD average of 17:1. This ratio results in larger class sizes and less access to laboratories, equipment, materials, libraries and tutorials.’    

‘As a result of this chronic underinvestment, it is hardly a surprise that in recent years, the time and support that staff can provide to students has come under huge pressure, with significantly less opportunity available to interact with students individually or in smaller groups. It is those students who require the most additional support who lose out, and this obviously has an effect on third level drop-out rates.’   

‘Also, educational disadvantage does not cease after post-primary, and provision must be made available to deliver a level playing field to all students. ‘  

Joint programmes between Further and Higher Education  

'The addition of a pathway to a degree programme, without the need to go through the CAO, broadens educational opportunities and will help to advance both societal equity and inclusion.' 

‘However, these programmes must be properly and fully resourced to ensure that they are educationally sound and offer a positive experience to students.’