Spending on education low but teachers' salaries high

Wed, Jul 11, 2012, 01:00

MORE THAN 400 second-level teachers and 32 Department of Education officials earn over €100,000 a year, according to new figures.

The figures provided by Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn in the Dáil will raise fresh controversy about high levels of pay across the education sector.

More than 70 per cent of the Government’s €9 billion education budget is absorbed by pay and pension payments, compared to an OECD average of 63 per cent.

The figures show that 260 secondary school teachers and 146 VEC teachers earn over €100,000. Others earning a six-figure salary include three senior officials at the State Examinations Commission and two at the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.

The figures tend to confirm findings by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that teachers’ salaries here are among the highest in the world, even though overall spending on education remains low when compared to other countries.

The figures reveal how a further 473 teachers earn more than €90,000 a year while 1,338 earn over €80,000. In most cases, they are principals of large schools.

In recent years, the Department of Education has found it difficult to fill some school principal posts because of the heavy workload associated with the job.

More than 6,000 teachers earn between €70,000 and €80,000 while more than 14,000 earn between €60,000 and €70,000.

The high number of staff at the Department of Education earning over €100,000 is a striking feature of the list. The figure of 32 includes the secretary general, 10 assistant secretaries and other senior officials.

High pay levels are also a feature of the third-level sector. Last year more than 1,200 employees earned over €100,000, while more than 200 earned over €150,000.

The OECD has pointed out how the Republic is close to the bottom of an international league table ranking overall education spending in relation to wealth or gross domestic product. The State is 27th of 31 countries surveyed.