Asti and Croke Park hours
Sir, – Further to Declan McGrath’s entirely justified criticism (May 21st) of the “Croke Park hours”, as they have long been called with distaste, I would like to point out arguably the most unproductive aspect of these “productivity measures” – the time spent by teachers on extra-curricular activities, for no additional wages or any other reward but the desire to help their students excel in whatever area of life suits their talents best, is not counted against Croke Park hours, leading to the frankly ludicrous situation of teachers who used to help with sports, etc, being unable to do so because of the demands of Croke Park hours on their time and energy.
It beggars belief that the Croke Park agreement did not at the very least allow for extra-curricular activities to count against extra “productivity hours”.
This would not only have encouraged more teachers to help out with such activities, to the enormous benefit of their students (as well as, might I suggest, their own personal and professional development) but would, I suspect, have boosted support for the agreement among hardworking teachers, and perhaps even avoided the mess we currently find ourselves in, with the prospect of further industrial action from a rightly aggrieved teaching profession.
I was in the later years of secondary school when these ridiculous Croke Park hours arrived on the scene, and I wholeheartedly agree with ASTI president, Máire Ní Chiarba, that schools can do without them. – Yours, etc,