Science subjects and pay inequality

 

Sir, – In launching his department’s policy statement on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) education, Minister for Education Richard Bruton neglected to highlight an ever-growing impediment to his stated goals (“Only six graduates in training to be physics teachers”, November 28th). A necessary first step in the promotion of any subject or groups of subjects in Irish schools is the restoration of pay equality for those employed since 2011. It remains completely unacceptable that two teachers are paid from different scales for carrying out the same work.

A high-quality teaching profession is a prerequisite for a high-quality education service, yet it has become extremely difficult for schools to source teachers in certain subjects, including in the Stem area, when there are more lucrative and secure employment options elsewhere.

In order to ensure that the profession continues to attract graduates of the highest calibre, the process of pay equalisation must be accelerated and completed as a matter of urgency. – Yours, etc,

JOANNE IRWIN,

President,

Teachers Union

of Ireland (TUI),

Orwell Road,

Rathgar,

Dublin 6.

Sir, – In the past, third-level colleges received 70 per cent more money for an engineering student as compared with a business studies student. This weighting has dropped to 35 per cent. This has led to a situation where many courses in Stem areas are no longer viable. Third-level colleges are struggling to maintain and update equipment. They are expanding “profitable” areas such as business studies. The Minister for Education should have the courage of his convictions and reinstate the full weighting for Stem courses immediately. It is no wonder that there is a shortage of teachers in these areas.

The Teaching Council should facilitate engineering graduates who wish to become teachers. – Yours, etc,

CILIAN Ó SÚILLEABHÁIN,

Cork.