Teacher supply and pay discrimination

 

Sir, – The addition of extra places to post-primary teacher education programmes will not address the crisis of teacher supply in Irish schools (“Hundreds of teacher-training places to tackle ‘crisis’”, News, March 14th).

It represents another attempt to treat the symptoms rather than tackle the disease.

Graduates who might formerly have chosen teaching, and increasingly, serving teachers, are now routinely opting for other employment options where they receive higher salaries, contracts of full hours upon commencement and, crucially, where they will not suffer pay discrimination by virtue of the date that they take up the same work as their colleague across the corridor.

The small increase in numbers applying for postgraduate teaching positions (“Postgrad teaching applications jump amid supply ‘crisis’”, News, March 13th) must also be placed in its proper context; these figures still represent a staggering fall of over 50 per cent – from 2,821 to 1,366 – from the number of applicants in 2011.

In addition, it must be borne in mind that the deadline for applications this year had to be extended to secure even this modest increase.

The real reason behind this crisis could not be clearer.

Pay discrimination has undermined the teaching profession and corroded morale, leading to severe difficulties in the recruitment and retention of teachers.

Inevitably, the quality of service to students is impaired as a result.

Unless and until this is addressed, the situation will worsen. – Yours, etc,

JOANNE IRWIN,

President,

The Teachers Union

of Ireland (TUI),

Orwell Road,

Rathgar,

Dublin 6.