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Teachers are striking over change that will benefit students

I posted a blog last week describing my extreme anger and frustration with the threatened teachers strike and I received an overwhelmingly positive response.

Business owners and other private sector employees I spoke with are extremely angry at the lack of change, lack of efficiency and waste in so many Government departments.

Yet, when any type of change is suggested in schools, teachers just down tools and strike.

Secondary school teachers often complain about stress. While I’m not saying their jobs are not stressful, in the overall scheme of things they have things as good as anybody. I deal with many business owners struggling to pay themselves a wage to keep a roof over their heads. Believe me, that’s stress. Teachers have 18 weeks holidays, a relatively short working day, job security for life and a guaranteed pension. That’s as good as it gets for anyone living in this country. And still they are not happy.

I was livid when I heard they are threatening to strike. Why? Because they don’t agree with the changes proposed to the Junior Certificate. Surely it makes sense that a marking system which is 40% regular assessment and 60% final exam is better than one which has no regular assessment and 100% final exam. This system would be better for students and improve our education system.

Change is part of life. Most workers in private businesses go through change all the time. Their bosses decide on it and whether you agree or disagree, the change will happen. Not so with public servants.

Even though this change will improve our education system, they don’t like it so it won’t happen.

Why is it that the only groups who strike in this country are either public servants or ex semi-state bodies – teachers, train drivers, bus drivers and Aer Lingus?

And what makes this scenario even more depressing is looking at the background of our Government. It’s made up of ex teachers, public servants and ex union officials. These people have a similar mindset to the striking workers and will never tackle the situation.

Every person in this country is paying a big price for the inefficiency of our public servants. But don’t hold your breath waiting for change.

Neil O’Brien




Co. Cork


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