ASTI: Extra hours for teachers harms education

The focus on extra work for teachers — but with little productivity as a result — will damage, not improve, education, ASTI president Máire G Ní Chiarba has warned.

ASTI: Extra hours for teachers harms education

Since the Croke Park agreement was ratified in 2011, an additional 33 hours a year are required to be delivered by teachers, usually for in-school meetings relating to subject teaching or whole-school policy issues.

Ms Ní Chiarba said teachers gave freely of their time when they started in, the interest of their students, and never sought recognition for those extra hours.

“But then the introduction of the infamous and insulting Croke Park hours, which I always call ‘detention for teachers’ attempted to poison our goodwill and undermined the extraordinary, unrecognised, and undervalued contribution we make to the holistic education of the young people of this country,” she said.

In a recent survey of ASTI members by Millward Brown, at least 80% said they see the fulfilling of Croke Park hours to be the least productive task undertaken by them in schools.

“Well, the Government and in particular the Department of Education should be put on notice — if you continue to count minutes the education system in this country will continue to suffer and you will be responsible as teachers have no more to give,” said Ms Ní Chiarba.

At the convention this morning, delegates will be asked to back the possibility of refusing to fulfil those extra 33 hours, equivalent to one hour for each week in the second-level school year, once the successor deal to Croke Park — the Haddington Road Agreement (HRA) — expires.

The ASTI rejected the Lansdowne Road public service pay deal that was ratified by most unions last autumn, and it will also be proposed from the floor that, as well as ceasing co-operation with the Croke Park hours, teachers would no longer undertake supervision and substitution duties.

This work was paid for in the case of the majority of teachers who signed up voluntarily to the work since 2004. However, the related extra pay of around €1,500 a year was withdrawn under the HRA and became a requirement for all teachers instead, or those who did not do it had the figure reduced from their pay.

Both the withdrawal of those duties — which could force closures of schools unless other personnel were drafted in for the work — and the Croke Park hours would require ballots of the ASTI’s almost 18,000 members.

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