The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) today said that projections which show a significant increase in student numbers at second level in the coming years make clear the need for greatly increased, targeted investment in the sector.
Speaking today, TUI General Secretary Michael Gillespie said:
‘There is nothing hypothetical about these figures – the increase in student numbers at second level due to demographic trends will have been known by our policymakers for some time.
It is therefore even more unacceptable that the latest OECD figures reveal Ireland’s spend at second level to be the lowest of the 36 countries for which figures are provided. This illustrates a shameful and sustained lack of acknowledgement by Government of the value of education to the individual, to society and to our economy.
Schools will clearly require additional teaching allocations, but there is already a teacher supply crisis as a result of pay discrimination which sees those who started from 2011 onwards earning less than colleagues. A survey of principals around the country carried out in August shows that 98% of schools have experienced difficulties employing substitute teachers over the past twelve months, with 81% of respondents believing that pay discrimination is a significant factor in this.
These problems will continue until this inequality is eliminated.
In addition, the current pandemic has put the unsuitability of many second level school buildings to appropriately serve the needs of modern school communities in sharp focus. In this regard, a commitment to greatly enhanced capital investment by Government is a necessity.’