29 March 2018
By Elaine Murphy
Cork East TD, Kevin O’Keeffe has said that the new proposals put forward by his party can have a major impact on ensuring that the teacher shortage crisis in schools is brought to an end.
Deputy O’Keeffe was commenting after the publication of a 10 point plan by his party’s Education Spokesperson, Thomas Byrne focused on making teaching a more attractive career choice, and ensuring that those currently in the profession feel valued.
“The escalating teacher supply crisis is having a detrimental impact on students in rural Cork primary and second level schools. The education system could be hit by wholesale class cancellations and even school closures unless the Government takes decisive action to resolve the crisis.
“Fianna Fáil has today put forward a series of proposals aimed at overcoming this crisis. Our 10 point plan will encourage recent graduates to remain in the education system and will entice teachers working abroad to return to Ireland. It will also reduce the restrictions placed on teachers who are on career breaks to help tackle the shortage of substitute teachers. The 10 proposals are:
· End pay inequality;
· Bring back the teaching diaspora;
· Reform the Professional Masters in Education (PME) programme;
· Remove hurdles for teachers on career breaks and retired teachers to work in schools;
· Increase undergraduate teacher training programmes that offer elements of teacher training;
· Introduce an Irish elective to undergraduate programmes;
· Re-establish substitute panels and support online platforms for substitute positions;
· Host a national summit to highlight the teacher supply crisis;
· Fastrack experienced migrant teachers to begin work in Irish schools;
· Introduce a model system to predict teacher supply trends.
“The Government has been far too slow in dealing with this crisis to date. It is crippling the education system and urgent action is needed to prevent further damage. The proposals we have put forward are reasonable and should be implemented without delay,” concluded Deputy O’Keeffe.