Secondary students criticise industrial action by teachers

Pupils express frustration over impact of school closures on exam preparations

ASTI members on strike last week outside Dominican College in Dublin. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Collins

ASTI members on strike last week outside Dominican College in Dublin. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Collins

 

Second-level students have criticised the closure of secondary schools due to industrial action by teachers over pay and conditions, with many concerned about the impact on their preparations for exams.

Hundreds of schools remained closed yesterday following the midterm break, as boards of management were unable to provide cover for Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) members who are refusing to carry out supervision and substitution duties.

The ASTI had directed members to cease providing supervision and substitution duties from Monday, which meant hundreds of schools had to close on health and safety grounds.

The union has marked Tuesday as another official strike day, meaning up to 250,000 students will have missed three additional school days since October 27th.

Irish Second-Level Students’ Union president Jane Hayes-Nally, who is in fifth year, said students in ASTI schools are becoming “increasingly anxious” as the dispute drags on.

“We know that students are becoming increasingly anxious over the time lost due to school closures,” she said.

“They are very aware of the disadvantage this leaves them in compared to their fellow students in TUI [Teachers Union of Ireland] schools. More so for those in exam years and who are currently completing their practical work.

“A large proportion of the work for exam projects needs to be completed around this time of year,” she said. “But students are missing out on valuable classroom time for this.”