THE Teachers’ Union of Ireland has said that the fall in applications for second-level teaching courses through the CAO is a growing concern. The 8% drop in applications to pursue second-level teaching courses comes at a time when there is an overall rise in applicant numbers through the CAO system.
79,176 applications were received overall by CAO this year, which is an increase of 6,203 applicants from last year. There was a total of 8,727 applications from applicants over 23 years of age, which represents an increase of 1,454 applications from 2020.
The TUI said that there is already a teacher recruitment and retention crisis at second-level and that this will continue until the pay issuesfinally resolved.
“We have consistently stated that there is a teacher recruitment and retention crisis at second-level largely as a result of pay discrimination, with schools struggling to attract teachers across a range of subject areas," TUI General Secretary Michael Gillespie said. "In this regard, the drop in applications for second-level teaching courses is of concern."
Mr Gillespie said the reduction in applications reinforces the findings from a 2020 survey.
“A survey carried out by the Union’s Principals and Deputy Principals’ Association last year in over 130 schools found that 97% of schools had experienced teacher recruitment difficulties in the previous six months. 49% had experienced teacher retention difficulties, while 77% had advertised positions for which no teacher applied.
“Of additional concern is the significant impending rise in student numbers at second-level which will require the employment of large numbers of additional teachers in the coming years,” he added.
The TUI General Secretary said more needs to be done to ensure the profession remains attractive to graduates. “There is no doubt that teacher recruitment and retention problems inflict severe damage on the education system," he said.
"Students miss out on subject choices and can experience a fractured service as a result of having several different teachers in particular subject areas.
"Clearly, ensuring that the profession remains attractive to the best graduates is of benefit to all. In many cases, those who might previously have chosen teaching are now looking at different options, with schools in both urban and rural areas routinely struggling to attract applicants to fill vacant positions."