TUI warns it will be hard to get teachers in some subjects

Education union urges end to two-tier pay structure as graduates are put off teaching

Gerry Quinn TUI president: “We are hearing with increasing frequency that schools are struggling to attract new teachers in certain subject areas.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Gerry Quinn TUI president: “We are hearing with increasing frequency that schools are struggling to attract new teachers in certain subject areas.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

Reduced pay and low-hour contracts for young teachers are driving graduates away from a career in education, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has warned.

It said this would lead to difficulties in schools being able to find teachers for certain subjects.

In a statement before its annual conference in Killarney on Tuesday, the TUI urged the Government to equalise salary levels between young teachers and their more established colleagues as quickly as possible.

The alternative “will see a drain of the best young graduates away from the profession at a time when they are most needed”.

Secure employment

Gerry Quinn

“Currently the problem is particularly pronounced in subjects such as home economics, modern languages, the science subjects and Irish.

“However, with the recruitment of considerably more teachers required – around 3,500 new full-time positions – over the next 10 years at second level due to rising student numbers, the situation will spread across all subject areas unless the profession is made more attractive.”

Mr Quinn said teachers who entered the profession from February 2012 were placed on a severely reduced starting salary which saw them generally earn 21.7 per cent less than those appointed prior to 2011 based on a contract of full hours.

He said 30 per cent or more of our second-level teachers were employed on a temporary, part-time basis. This proportion grew to 50 per cent for those under 35.

“It is little surprise that graduates who now qualify in certain disciplines/subjects are reluctant to undertake the required additional two-year postgraduate masters in education – at a cost of around €10,000 in fees alone – when they can earn considerably more in industry, start work two years earlier, and enjoy full hours, better job security and promotional prospects from the start of their career.”