Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has raised concerns about the exploitation of newly qualified teachers through the JobBridge scheme.
Deputy McConalogue has called on the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton to immediately clarify if it is government policy to allow fully qualified teachers to essentially work for free through the State internship scheme.
“If this is as widespread as reported, it’s a sinister development in the treatment of our graduates. Essentially what we are seeing is graduate teachers being forced to work for next to nothing, while the State gets away with not paying them the salary they are entitled to as fully trained teachers,” said Deputy McConalogue.
“The JobBridge scheme was not set up to give the State a way of avoiding having to pay full salaries for qualified public servants who have already done their full training and their work placements. We have already seen the Government cut pay for graduate nurses and teachers. Is it now Government policy to take this a step further by expecting graduate teachers to work for just €50 on top of social welfare payments?
“The Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn must immediately clarify to what extent this is happening within the school system, and what his Department’s policy is on the filling of teaching posts through JobBridge. He must also clarify what communication, if any, his Department has had with schools on the use of JobBridge to fill gaps in staffing levels.
“There is no doubt that schools right across the country are under pressure with cuts to resources and expanding pupil numbers. But using JobBridge to boost staffing levels is not the answer – all it does is allow the Department of Education to avoid paying those teachers the salaries they are entitled to.”