Education Minister continues to fail to address teacher shortage, says GannonGary Ibbotson 13 Apr 2023
Schools will continue to experience “serious” teacher shortages when the new term begins in September if the Minister for Education fails to address the “ongoing recruitment crisis”, according to Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon.
Deputy Gannon, who is the party’s Education spokesperson, said: “This week, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) conference heard that more than 2,400 teachers could be brought into the education system in a year if teacher training was reformed.
“In a Private Members’ Motion last December, the Social Democrats called for a review of the Professional Master of Education (PME), which was increased from one to two years in 2014, with significant additional costs associated with the longer duration of the course.
“Since the PME was extended, it costs at least €12,500 to complete the two-year course, which is out of reach for many families.
“Apart from addressing other underlying issues affecting recruitment, such as the housing crisis, the Government needs to incentivise people to take up teaching as a career.
“This means removing any financial or academic barriers they face while studying.
“However, Minister Foley has poured cold water on calls for the PME to be again reduced to one year, despite the immediate impact such reform would have on increasing the availability of teachers.
“The shortage of teachers is hampering the ability of our schools to meet the day-to-day educational needs of students, including those with additional needs. The Minister is continuing to sleepwalk through this crisis by ignoring calls for practical solutions.”