The shortage of teachers, particularly at primary level, is highlighted by the report in this week's paper regarding the situation at St. Colman's National School in Stradbally.
The school recently had to use locally raised funds to pay student teachers to cover sick leave, owing to a lack of qualified substitute teachers.
For many schools it is an all too familiar scenario, certainly the difficulties in getting qualified substitute teachers to cover is.
It's coupled with the reported fall in the number of people applying for teacher-training courses.
This is due to a number of factors, but one of the principal ones being cited is the cost.
The one year higher diploma has been replaced by a two year professional masters of education which greatly adds to this expense, estimated to be up to €11,000.
There are other factors at play too, such as the cost of work placements.
In short, the cost is proving to be prohibitive, and this is cleaerly deterring people.
Exacerbating this is the issue of the two tier salaries been paid, with new teachers finding themselves on a lower pay scale than their more senior colleagues.
This has created the 'Dubai Effect' with many opting to go abroad to places like Dubai which offer fantastic packages for foreign teachers.
When the options are weighed up, anybody would be mad not to.
This scenario is not only confined to teaching. A lot of other professionals are also opting for it. In the medical sphere it has been happening for a long time for nurses and doctors.
Our education system is considered one of the best in the world.
We are putting people through it only to have them leave once they qualify.
In the past it was due to a lack of jobs at home, but this is not the case any longer.
The situation is now more nuanced, but it certainly has a lot to do with working conditions.
The brain drain is still ongoing,and no one should be happy with this.
People should have the option of remaining and working at home if they wish to, and many do.
It should be an attractive and viable option for them.
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