Today’s reports of a ‘total collapse’ in the number of people applying for teacher-training courses are no surprise, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD.
Deputy Byrne has called on Minister for Education Richard Bruton to conduct a review into the barriers preventing people from applying for teacher training courses. The Fianna Fáil TD added that this review must include the high cost associated with training alongside the skills requirements that are currently in place.
Deputy Byrne said, “A key factor in this that I have previously warned about is the expense of a two-year Masters Course which replaced the one year Higher Diploma in Education. The cost of training keeps increasing and more and more of a burden is put on perspective teachers. We need to examine how we can alleviate the cost, especially in the STEM subjects.
“Perspective teachers are paying more fees to qualify, and are getting lower pay when they complete their training. The current cost of training is now almost €11,000 and people simply cannot afford such extortionate fees. The situation simply isn’t sustainable if we want to attract quality recruits to the profession. There is also an issue with the prohibitive skills requirements for perspective teachers and I believe this is something that needs to be addressed.
“Minister Bruton needs to initiate a review of the barriers which are preventing people from applying for teacher-training courses. This review must address the high costs associated with training and the prohibitive skills requirements. We also need to know what subjects secondary school teachers are qualifying in so that we can take corrective action and address subjects where there are shortages of teachers.
“There is already a shortage of teachers in the education system so this is something that the Government is going to have to quickly get to grips with. Fianna Fáil has been pushing for measures to encourage people to apply for teacher training courses, including the restoration of postgraduate grants. The review that we are pushing for will help identify the steps that need to be taken to break down the barriers preventing people from enrolling in teacher-training courses.”