Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, has reconfirmed his commitment to hiring 4,600 extra teachers by September.
The move means that teachers who had been emigrating will increasingly be able to find jobs in Irish schools. Currently, there are urgent gaps in subjects such as Irish, European languages, home economics and maths.
At the same time, finding qualified teachers to teach them is problematic. Schools are reporting increasing difficulties in recruiting teachers in maths, science, resource and guidance. In addition, short-term, unexpected absences have become a major challenge for schools due to lack of cover.
A survey of secondary schools carried out by one representative body found that 96 per cent of schools contacted reported difficulties in recruiting part-time or temporary teaching cover. The issue was most acute in Irish, where the majority reported difficulties finding teachers (67 per cent), followed by modern languages (51 per cent), maths (30 per cent), home economics (26 per cent) and science (20 per cent).
The quality of teaching across primary and secondary schools may also be at risk due to a lack of qualified teachers, according to an as yet unpublished research report commissioned by the Department of Education.
Striking the Balance was prepared by a technical working group linked to the Teaching Council of Ireland. It is believed to confirm that at second level there is a shortage of teachers in key subjects including Irish, home economics, physics and European languages. The result is the use of “out of field” teachers, i.e. teachers who are not specifically qualified in that subject area and lack a detailed knowledge of the curriculum.
Minister Bruton has pledged to publish the report which was finalised in December 2015 over the coming weeks. He maintains that the Government’s move to hire an extra 4,600 teachers between last September and next September means teachers who had been emigrating will increasingly be able to find jobs in Irish schools.
The CareersPortal Team