Many teachers but few teaching hours

 

Sir, – The shortage of post-primary teachers in certain subject areas has been coming for a very long time and has not been addressed by the selection process.

One would worry for public policy in all areas when such information is coming to light essentially through lobby groups such as teacher unions and principals’ organisations rather than any suggestion that the Department of Education has any grasp of or interest in the matter.

What other areas of public policy are also so singularly uninformed and years upon years behind the curve?

But people wonder about how to make teaching more attractive for, say, physics graduates.

How can any graduate in any subject area be attracted to a job which might offer six hours a week?

School managements who complain should also consider the way they routinely carve up jobs and offer “hours” with very little prospects. No employer can do this and expect to recruit in a downsized market. And downsized it certainly is due to the huge amount of money involved in qualifying which has put an end to those who might speculate in the direction of teaching.

Basic economics would have predicted that raising the cost of qualifying would reduce demand. Was there no plan for this scenario?

In reality it is probably often those who have other options who will now not consider teaching as a potential career choice if they have to begin a very uncertain and low-paid career already in debt.

The Government can face down the ASTI all it likes but there is a price to be paid in the long run for not understanding the significance of the broader issue this union has raised. For young teachers, happily, there is always Dubai. – Yours, etc,

TONY McINTYRE,

Dublin 9.