A shortage of teachers casts a dark shadow over the start of school

More than 400,000 secondary school students are returning to school for the new school year despite warnings of a worsening teacher shortage.

Increasing student numbers and the lack of graduate teachers in key subjects are exacerbating the problem.

The hardest-hit subjects are Irish, Home Economics and Careers Guidance, which secondary school leaders have said are facing a “severe supply crisis”.

The Joint Management Body (JMB), which represents about half of secondary schools, said “it’s impossible to find a replacement Home Economics teacher”.

The governing body has asked the department to draw up guidelines for schools in difficulty on how to provide Irish, home economics and careers education in the coming year.

While applauding the Department of Education’s efforts to improve teacher supply in the long term, the JMB said short-term action is also needed.

Other subjects where school leaders have faced recruitment challenges over the past year include math, English, religious education, French, physical education and special education, according to school surveys over the past year.

In order to overcome the crisis, the JMB is asking the faculty to recognize second-year students of the PME master’s program qualifying them for a job.

The JMB has also identified the “increasingly cumbersome recognition pathways for teachers from outside the jurisdiction” as a barrier to more and faster hiring.

With regard to home economics, the JMB said the only college for graduate teachers in the subject – St Angela’s, Co Sligo – does not have sufficient capacity to meet demand and is calling for a second college in the eastern region.

A shortage of careers advisors is emerging as the range of after-school study and career opportunities expands, with a focus on encouraging school leavers to consider alternatives to CAO, such as: B. Apprenticeships for which students need information and advice.

Dublin has been particularly hard hit by the staff crisis, as a lack of housing and high rents mean graduates and young teachers are looking for jobs outside the capital.

In the wake of the Covid emergency and the reopening of international travel, there is also anecdotal evidence that young teachers are looking for work opportunities in tax-free places like Dubai where they can save up for a home.

Meanwhile, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has also highlighted the problem, with union leader Liz Farrell saying “schools are having alarming difficulties recruiting teachers across a wide range of subject areas”.

TUI blames this on two-tier teachers’ salaries, which were introduced in 2011 as a result of the financial crisis and were only partially bridged

Ms Farrell said the shortage was “largely due to wage discrimination, where teachers are paid differently for the same work.

“The cost of living crisis, particularly in relation to housing and transport, is exacerbating an already dire situation, particularly in larger urban areas.”

She pointed to a survey of over 1,200 TUI members earlier this year showing that 30 per cent of those employed after 2011 believed they would still be in the job 10 years from now, but that number has changed to 75 per cent, when the issue of wage discrimination was fully resolved Resolved.

Secondary school enrollments have been increasing for about five years and will continue to increase until about 2025 or 2026, creating a huge need for more teachers, in addition to replacing retirees.

Last year there were 391,698 students in this sector, 12,514 more than 2020, while growth over the past five years was 39,444.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/education/shortage-of-teachers-casts-a-dark-shadow-over-start-of-school-year-41929922.html A shortage of teachers casts a dark shadow over the start of school

Fry Electronics Team

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