The President of the Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland says the Government must commit to an increase in investment in education in Budget 2021, which is due to be announced this afternoon.
Speaking to The Echo earlier this week, Ann Piggott also highlighted the importance of greater funding in education, particularly in light of the Covid-19 crisis as well as for equal pay for teachers.
“Teachers want enhanced funding in education to ensure continued health-and-safety measures in schools,” said Ms Piggott.
“Money also has to be made available to finally address the issue of equal pay for equal work.
“Students and teachers need to be provided with digital equipment for any remote learning which may be necessary during closures, either in individual schools or during further lockdowns,” she added.
“We want to see provisions for teachers in the high-risk category to either teach from home or have guaranteed, reasonable accommodations made in schools.”
Covid-19 has resulted in drastic changes in schools and the work environment for teachers is hugely different.
Ms Piggott said government funding must reflect this fact.
“As a result of Covid-19, schools are changed workplaces for staff,” she said.
“The Government must commit to funding to cover essentials to ease fears for the safety of students and staff and, subsequently, everyone in local communities.
“Guaranteed, rapid test times for teachers and pupils is an absolute necessity, as is protective equipment for those in close contact with students,” Ms Piggott said.
“Serial testing should be introduced; positive cases are being reported in schools.
“Testing is required, as many students will not exhibit symptoms, but may transmit the virus.
“Close contacts must be tested sooner and sufficient funding has to be provided for rapid test turnaround times, as well as social distancing in all classrooms, and we continually request perspex around desks, as a basic necessity.”