Teacher recruitment crisis

 

Sir, – In your editorial on the teacher recruitment crisis (“Teacher shortages: Time for decisive action”, January 9th), “conversion courses” and “subsidised college places in key subject areas” are suggested as possible remedies for an ever-worsening problem.

Such measures would set a dangerous precedent of prioritising particular subjects, despite this being a growing problem across the breadth of subjects offered.

We need both to recruit and retain teachers.

Even if graduates were to be lured to a training course in a certain subject area, there is no guarantee that they will end up teaching for any length of time, particularly when they will be discriminated against from their initial appointment in terms of pay.

Discriminatory pay rates are undermining the teaching profession and have had a devastating effect on morale in the classroom.

A Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) survey last year showed that 29 per cent of new or recent entrants to the profession did not see themselves in the job in 10 years’ time, while the collapse in applications for teacher training courses indicates the severe damage that this unfair system is inflicting on the education system.

The only guaranteed way of ensuring retention of recent entrants to the profession and the recruitment of those needed for the future is to repair the professional integrity of teaching by restoring common pay rates for all. – Yours, etc,

JOANNE IRWIN,

President,

Teachers’ Union of Ireland,

Orwell Road,

Rathgar,

Dublin 6.