Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education and Skills Charlie McConalogue has said he was completely taken aback by Minister Ruairí Quinn’s comments today in which he linked his proposal to make honours maths compulsory for entry to teaching courses with comments that teaching is a ‘highly feminised’ profession. “I find that type of comment completely insulting to teachers,” said Deputy McConalogue.
“I have no problem agreeing with Minister Quinn on the need to encourage more men into teaching but we’re not going to do that by insulting the thousands of female teachers we have at the moment. I think the Minister’s comments today were extremely ill-judged and bordering on sexist.
“Fianna Fáil is considering a number of proposals at the moment which would look at making teaching a more attractive profession for men. However the Minister seems to have equated making Higher Level Maths compulsory for all those applying to train as teachers with attracting more men into the profession. I think that’s an extremely insulting comparison to make for women.
“Fianna Fáil believes that graduates entering teacher training should have a broad range of subject knowledge but to put in a requirement for honours Higher Level Maths would exclude many people who would make excellent teachers and we are opposed to it.
“As serious proposals are considered to expand the attractiveness of teaching as a profession I think it is very important that the Minister be more respectful in his comments.”