Nearly one quarter of the superintendents hired by the State Examination Commission to supervise the Junior and Leaving Certificate Exams last year were retired teachers, according to new figures obtained by Fianna Fáil’s Education Spokesperson Brendan Smith.
Deputy Smith tabled a series of Parliamentary Questions to the Minister for Education and Skills and the State Examinations confirmed to him that 1,147 retired teachers were appointed as exam Superintendents last year, out of a total 4,735. In addition to this 393 retired teachers were employed to correct exam papers out of a total of 5,168 and 192 retired teachers were hired as Leaving Certificate Oral Examiners out of a total of 1100.
Commenting on the figures, Deputy Smith said, “It is unacceptable that at a time when thousands of qualified teachers are looking for jobs, at least 1,732 jobs were handed over to retired teachers last Summer. These may be temporary positions, but they provide a real opportunity to offer newly qualified teachers a salary and valuable work experience while they continue to search for a permanent teaching position.
“I have already called for a zero tolerance policy in relation to the hiring of retired teachers for substitute teaching positions. The same policy should apply to hiring examiners and superintendents for Leaving and Junior Certificate. If we continue to hand a large proportion of these posts over to retired teachers, we are wasting an opportunity to give graduates a real career opportunity. Quite apart from the obvious economic benefits, this is about sending a clear message to young graduates that we will do everything possible to help them begin their careers.
“Minister Quinn must intervene urgently to ensure that where possible, the jobs available during the State exams this summer go to qualified teachers in search of work rather than those who have retired from teaching,” said Deputy Smith.