Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD has raised concern over the lack of planning carried out by the Government to determine future teaching needs in schools.
Deputy Byrne pointed out that there is an over-supply of teachers in certain subject areas while there simply aren’t enough teachers to cover other areas.
Shockingly, the Minister for Education has been sitting on a report on the issue since his appointment and which was presented to the previous minister.
“Currently the system for training teachers is unplanned, uncoordinated and takes little regard of the requirement of schools and trainee teachers themselves. This is leading to significant problems in the education system as there is an over-supply of teachers for some subjects while there aren’t enough teachers to fill vacancies in other fields,” explained Deputy Byrne.
“The over-supply of teachers in certain areas is leading to casualisation of work for younger teachers. They are forced to rely on short term contracts and are often unable to secure full-time work. This is a significant issue for teachers who are still in training as they simply cannot secure the number of post-qualification teaching orders they need to qualify for full registration to the Teaching Council. The over-supply of teachers also makes it difficult for them to obtain placements in schools as part of their initial teacher education training.
“I have raised this issue with Minister Bruton and was absolutely shocked by the lack of planning carried out by his Department to rectify this problem. The Minister was unable to tell me if there are enough positions available in each subject area for teacher training. This raises the prospect that Ireland is simply training teachers for export which is simply unacceptable. This situation nullifies every action point the Minister has proposed for schools, and particularly those at second level.
“The Government needs to actually put in place a detailed plan to overcome these problems. An audit needs to be carried out to determine which subject areas need greater number of teachers. Consideration might also have to be given to capping the number of students entering into popular subjects. This will help achieve a more sustainable approach to the future supply of teaching jobs.
“It’s important to recognise that pupil enrolments at second level are expected to increase by 8% by 2020. This will place significant pressure on our education system and will exacerbate the current teacher supply problems unless decisive action is taken by Government.
“Immediately, however, the report on teaching supply that Minister Bruton is sitting on urgently needs to be published.”