Fianna Fáil Education Spokesperson, Thomas Byrne TD has said the Government must be pushed to provide a long term plan to ensure that all Irish schools have enough quality teaching professionals educating future generations of citizens.
The party will table a Dáil motion during its Private Members Business next Wednesday on the ongoing shortage of teachers in schools across the country.
He said, “It has been apparent for some time now that our schools are finding it more and more challenging to obtain the right teachers, with the right subject combinations to ensure that all students can take the subjects of their choosing.
“Ongoing pay inequality has resulted in a recruitment and retention crisis for teachers and there are also major difficulties for schools in securing substitute teachers when required.
“Despite the fact that there are just six physics teachers expected to graduate in the next two years and a reported collapse in numbers applying for teacher training courses, the Minister continues in denial.
“It is clear that these are major problems, and everyone working in education knows it except, it would seem, the Minister for Education.
“These issues will undoubtedly have an adverse impact on our education system unless directly tackled soon.
Byrne added, “Our motion calls on Government to agree a roadmap with teaching unions on how full pay equality will be achieved and, in conjunction with that, to organize a recruitment and advertising campaign aimed at bringing home young Irish teachers temporarily working abroad.
“Other measures we are calling for include the establishment of ‘Substitute Supply Panels’ at primary level and to make it easier for retired teachers to act as substitutes in the short term.
“The Department of Education must establish a body to work with education partners in coordinating policy matters concerning teacher supply.
“It’s absolutely critical that we deal with this emerging crisis. Our motion next Wednesday will, I hope, bring a new focus to that. I am hopeful that other parties will support our motion.”