Buttimer says roles of teachers are more flexible


EDUCATION:TEACHERS HAD changed “the landscape of their tenure’’ under the Croke Park agreement, Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer told the Dáil.

“There has been more movement and flexibility in schools recently than in the previous 25 years,” he added. “That is testimony to the teachers who have shown leadership and who continue every day to demonstrate the ability they have in terms of the transmission of education in classrooms.”

Speaking during the resumed debate on the Education (Amendment) Bill 2012, the Cork South Central TD, a former teacher, agreed that the costs of the teaching council must be examined.

However, to claim that teachers did not want to register and were complaining about the council was incorrect. “I meet teachers every day and know they are not complaining about it.”

Mr Buttimer welcomed the proposed reform of the VEC sector. It was important to give power back locally, amalgamate VECs and allow them to focus on their primary role of providing local education, training and upskilling.

Former school principal Finian McGrath (Ind, Dublin North Central) said a good efficient teaching service needed top-quality teachers, first and foremost.

“Give me a good teacher and the debate on resources, procedures, accountability and reform will follow,” he added. “Treating skilled teachers as a priority is the way to improve the education system.”

Derek Keating (FG, Dublin Mid West) agreed that all teachers must be registered and that supervision and standards in education must be adhered to.

“This Bill is a significant step towards achieving these aims, particularly during times of difficult economic circumstances.”

Mr Keating said he had already raised with Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn an issue that was causing difficulty for many parents – namely, school principals writing to families requiring them to make voluntary contributions.

Mr Keating was critical of the absence of Opposition TDs in the Dáil chamber when Mr Quinn replied to the debate.