Dáil Éireann - Volume 526 - 21 November, 2000
Written Answers. - School Staffing.
Mr. Sargent Mr. Sargent
449. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the ASTI survey which found that 69% of second level schools have had difficulties in recruiting qualified teachers to teach one or more subjects since the start of the school year and, of the 55% of schools which did not successfully fill posts, 38% were forced to employ an unqualified person; and if he will radically amend the terms and conditions of all teachers to ensure the profession is sufficiently attractive to ensure posts can be filled in view of a similar trend in the primary sector. [26804/00]
Dr. Woods Dr. Woods
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): I am aware from the survey undertaken earlier this year by the ASTI that some second level principals have experienced difficulties in recruiting qualified teachers. However, the position at second level is complicated by regional and subject variations. A further factor is that vacant positions often require teachers with specific subject combinations.
My Department and the Higher Education Authority have been closely monitoring the situation at second level. Following a survey of principals and graduates completed in 1997, I have increased the number of places for the higher diploma in education by 25%. A review of the supply and demand position of second level teachers will continue on an ongoing basis. Since 1 August, 1,100 new appointments of qualified teachers have been made in second level schools and the number of applicants exceeded 2,000.
Claims for improvements in the conditions of service of teachers are processed through the Conciliation Council for Teachers. Apart from the increases in salary which have been granted as part of national agreements, significant improvements have been made over the years in the conditions of service of teachers including the provision of additional teaching posts, the extension and improvement of arrangements for the award of incremental credit, new management structure for schools with a significant increase in promotional posts for teachers, increased allowances for posts of responsibility, new career break and job-sharing arrangements and the payment of  qualifications allowances for all recognised teachers.
When the pay scales and associated qualification allowances and the other conditions of service applying to teachers are considered together, the total remuneration and overall conditions of service of teachers remains competitive.
Dáil Éireann 526 Written Answers. School Staffing.