Over 3,000 new teachers needed by 2025, insists union


MORE THAN 3,000 additional teachers will be required to cope with the increase in student numbers, according to a teacher’s union.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland says the projected increase of 20 per cent in student numbers at second level over the next 12 years must boost teacher numbers.

Its annual conference, which begins tomorrow, is expected to rail against any further increases in the pupil-teacher ratio.

Department of Education projections indicate second-level enrolment student numbers will increase from 325,000 to about 383,000 by 2025, an increase of 18 per cent.

The union estimates that 3,000 additional teachers (about 230 per annum) will be required.

Union president Bernie Ruane said it would be unconscionable that the students of 2015, 2017 or 2020 would have their legitimate educational aspirations impeded by further cuts affecting the pupil-teacher ratio. This would fly in the face of the very purpose of the Department of Education and Skills and would be a perversion of public policy.

“This need for additional teachers will also provide a window of opportunity for those young teachers currently struggling to obtain enough teaching hours to earn a living and should also offer hope to those young people currently studying to join the profession.

“In too many cases, we are losing these talented teachers to classrooms in other jurisdictions at the very time when the children of this country need them,” she said.

Ms Ruane said the education system was suffering the strain of various cutbacks over the last four years.

“Teacher numbers have been cut, programmes that benefited marginalised students have been savaged and vital positions such as Year Head are no longer being filled when they become vacant. Our schools have clearly suffered enough.”