Chairperson of the Co. Donegal Teachers’ Union of Ireland Branch, Joanne Irwin from Killygordon, has said the situation will have to stop.
“Many teachers now apply for teaching hours in schools and centres as opposed to applying for permanent full time jobs.
“The Co. Donegal Branch represents over 460 members in post primary schools and adult education centres within the county and many of these members are employed for a small number of hours and have no guarantee of being re-employed on a year on year basis,” said Ms Irwin.
She added the TUI believes that the uncertain nature of employment will ultimately force the best young graduates to emigrate to teach in other jurisdictions or to consider more secure employment options.
TUI has revealed that over a quarter of its members at second level earn a salary based on less than full hours. TUI represents teachers and lecturers in second level schools, further education colleges and Institute of Technology.
President of the TUI, Gerard Craughwell said: “There is a worry that the best young graduates will begin to see teaching as a career choice where there is no real level of security. Many may choose to teach in other jurisdictions where more secure teaching positions are available. Alternatively, they may consider other career choices for the same reason. For those entering the teaching profession after a training period of five years, we would estimate that it takes an average of a further five years to secure a level of permanency. Even then, this is often on small numbers of hours that see them earning considerably less than the average industrial wage.
“Up to this they typically work on short-term contracts on part-time hours covering for those teachers on leave of absence with no guarantee that they will be retained by their school in the following year. Like many others in Irish society, their struggle to meet basic financial commitments is a very real one.
“There is a misconception that all teaching jobs are full-time and secure but the reality is very different. Over a quarter of our second level members are on less than full hours. Hundreds of posts have been lost as a result of cutbacks in recent years and the equivalent of a further 700 full-time teaching posts will be taken out of the second level system in September as a result of a cut to guidance counselling provision.
“We are seeking that a system be put in place whereby teachers after a certain number of years on fixed term contracts get full time permanent jobs rather than remaining on Contracts of Indefinite Duration (CIDS) on less than full hours for perhaps another decade.
In addition, we are urging the Government to commit to insulating the education system from further cutbacks. Appropriate investment will ensure that every student is allowed the best chance of realising their potential and will also provide young teachers with the opportunity to make a living out of the profession.”