Report calls for inept teachers to be weeded out

ONLY one Irish teacher - out of the country’s 50,000 - was sacked in the past four years for unsatisfactory teaching, according to recent figures.

Despite an OECD report, which calls for a more stringent approach to weed out ineffective teachers, Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) president Paddy Healy insisted adequate procedures are in place for teachers to quit their posts.

“There is no specific hint in this report that there is a problem of ineffective teachers in Ireland.

“This is a report covering 25 OECD countries and it merely says that there should be effective and speedy action to remove incompetent teachers. We have an interest in not allowing a situation of incompetent teachers to exist.

“We are the most inspected profession in the country. We’ve inspection systems and exit methods and humane approaches are taken.

“What happens is that we have an inspection system and the principal can call in an inspector. Now we have a teaching council; parents can complain to the council. It is generally agreed by everyone internationally that the standard of teaching in Ireland is very high.”

Mr Healy said the report also makes a strong case for significant increases in teachers’ pay. The report noted the ratio between teachers’ pay and GDP income per head of population had fallen by 50% in eight years.

Mr Healy pointed out the OECD was a business body, not an educational body. “They believe that schools and universities should be run on business lines, whereas we are talking about the advantages of a permanent, pensionable, teaching profession that can give a life-long commitment to education.”

The report also calls for more stringent approaches to selection and probation before teachers are given permanent posts.

A controversial recommendation is that all teachers should have to renew their teaching certificates after five to seven years.

Meanwhile, the TUI is debating whether to take legal advice against the website www.ratemyteachers.com. “It’s very unfair that people can say anything without any redress or accountability. Things have already been said that are quite unfair,” he said.

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