The Minister for Education is continuing to sleepwalk through the teacher recruitment crisis in our schools, according to Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon.

Deputy Gannon, who is the party’s education spokesperson, said:

“The annual teachers’ conferences taking place this week should refocus Minister Foley’s mind on one of the most serious challenges facing our education system – the recruitment and retention of teaching staff.

“The Minister and her department seem to be in a permanent state of paralysis when it comes to tackling this crisis.

“The Government needs to incentivise people to take up teaching as a career, which means removing some of the financial and academic barriers they face while studying.

“It is now well over a year since the Social Democrats put forward a range of measures aimed at speeding up the pipeline of teacher graduates into our primary and secondary schools.

“Our proposals included reducing the Professional Master of Education (PME) from two years to one to help address the significant costs of studying to be a teacher – a practical measure that the Minister has so far refused to consider.

“We also called for the creation of funded scholarships to be awarded to outstanding candidates, including those from minority backgrounds, to allow them to pursue primary school teaching qualifications.

“The Minister should be encouraging new teachers to remain in Ireland after they qualify. That means giving them permanent, full-time jobs on their initial appointment instead of temporary, precarious employment.

“At this week’s conferences, Minister Foley must fully engage with teachers’ unions and come away with a clear, workable plan to address chronic staff shortages in our classrooms.”

April 2, 2024

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