Unions are warning that it may not be possible to find the extra 1,000 teachers for the full reopening of schools next month.
The Government yesterday announced its €375 million plan to get children back to education for the new school year.
It included funding to hire 1,000 post-primary teaching staff – including 120 guidance posts, 600 extra teachers, and 360 posts for schools having most difficulty reopening.
On Breakfast Briefing with Andrea Gilligan this morning, Martin Marjoram, President of the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) said finding teachers was difficult before the outbreak.
“We have a long-standing issue with regard to the recruitment and retention crisis in our schools, which is particularly acute for certain subject areas,” he said.
“Of course, this is unfortunately a result of the two-tier pay system which has driven a lot of very good teachers either out of the profession or into other jurisdictions.
“So, we do see potential significant difficulties. We are happy that the additional posts are going to be funded but we absolutely see significant potential difficulties in actually finding people to fill them.”
He said the union was happy to see “substantial” funding being made available but noted that he has “no idea” whether it will be enough.
He also voiced concern about the amount of time left to implement the plan at a local level, with schools due to open in four weeks.
“Through delays in getting the public health advice in the first instance and then the length of time and the consultation, we have left ourselves with a little over a month to do what is an enormous amount of work,” he said.
He noted that each school will have its own particular challenges to overcome before it can welcome students back safely.