Emigration the ‘new permanency’ for graduate teachers

Emigration the ‘new permanency’ for graduate teachers

SEÁN FLYNN

TEACHING GRADUATES have no option but to emigrate because of the jobs crisis in Ireland and the introduction of vastly reduced pay for new entrants to the profession, a young teacher said yesterday.

Aoife Ní Mháille – a 24-year-old Irish-language graduate – said emigration is “ the new permanency” for a huge number of graduates who have no realistic prospect of securing full-time work in Ireland.

Her emotional address drew a standing ovation at the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI) conference .

Ms Ní Mháille from Carrigallen, Leitrim, is completing a master’s in education at Trinity College Dublin. She told delegates: “Teaching positions – not to mention the very rare permanency – are as hot as the Adele tickets for the Olympia last month”.

“As graduate teachers struggle to become an active part of the school community through part-time work, it has become apparent that our best chance of finding full-time work is to find it abroad – emigration is the new permanency. But emigration is not an option for me as an Irish teacher.”

A recent union survey found 12 per cent of graduating teachers do not plan to seek teaching work in Ireland due to the lack of secure jobs. More than half believe they will not have a secure teaching job in five years.

As well as having poor job prospects, new teachers also face a 14 per cent pay cut and much reduced pension entitlements.

Ms Ní Mháille recalled how there was no mention of these new realities when she registered for her master’s. “Logically, I did the right thing in getting my master’s. But, as it turns out, my decision to improve my subject expertise could cost me dearly . . . Now, I face a decrease in potential wages of more than €5,000 in just my first year teaching. I don’t even want to think about what that will equate to over a 40-year career.”

She also said the proposed cuts for new entrants were grossly unfair and will cause unbalanced working conditions in Irish schools.

The Government, she said, is “naive to think that graduates won’t be hurt by this unjust treatment or that inter-teacher relations, which are crucial to the running of a school, will not be weakened by such harsh proposals. The courses haven’t changed, the fees haven’t changed, and the calibre of students hasn’t changed, so why is the pay being changed?”

The Irish Times – Friday, April 29, 2011

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