“Ban On Teacher Career Breaks Will Do More Harm Than Good” – Nelligan
The Aontú representative for Castletroy and the party Education Spokesperson, Eric Nelligan, has cautioned against the proposed suspension of teacher career breaks as a solution to the severe shortage of teachers and education.
Speaking today, Mr Nelligan, himself a teacher, said ‘’All across Ireland primary school principals have reported difficulties finding substitute teachers. Secondary school representatives have said they are experiencing challenges trying to find qualified teachers in key subjects. The situation is especially critical in urban areas, commuter towns and in Gaelcholaiste. Earlier this week the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, announced that various options are currently being considered by the department to combat staff shortages. One of these options is suspending teacher career breaks.”
Mr Nelligan continued: “Any decision to axe career breaks will actually prompt some teachers to leave the profession altogether. The staffing crisis is not being addressed properly. Instead of tackling the problem, the Department is scapegoating teachers, who want to take time away to spend time with their family, undertake further studies or professional development. The teacher shortage is of no surprise to anybody in the sector, once again the CAO applications for 2022 saw a 9% drop in the number applying for education courses. This has been a trend for a number of years now. Frequent ‘teacher bashing’ in the media, €14k Master’s in Education fees, lower pay, the dual salary scale, superior options abroad, teacher burnout caused by incessant changes in education, red tape and lack of respect have hit the status of the profession hard. Education isn’t an attractive option anymore’’
‘’After 15 years of deteriorating pay and conditions the grand plan to solve the crisis is to cut conditions further. The irony of all this is that the Minister for Education herself is on a break from teaching, availing of the very scheme she is considering cutting. Aontú believe that we need to fast track the registration of teachers coming from abroad, make redeployment easier, cut the PME from two years to one, speed up and reform the vetting for SNAs’’ concluded Mr Nelligan