Teachers in Ireland have been at the centre of a row with the Department of Education over a proposal to give teachers new job titles, despite having been working in the public sector for over a century.
The move has angered teachers, who have been demanding the Department review the new titles for over two years.
The Government has been in talks with the DCEE over a number of changes to the job titles of teachers in the last few months, including a move to introduce new terms to help teachers improve their knowledge and skills.
However, the latest proposals to introduce a new set of job titles for teachers have been put forward by the Department, which said the changes were necessary to improve “social cohesion” in the workforce.
Under the proposed changes, the Department’s own proposals for teacher titles will be taken into account, with the first of the new jobs to be given to a teacher currently employed by a private school in County Mayo.
There is also a move towards introducing a new form of classification of teachers into a new job category of “career teachers” and “primary teachers”.
The proposed changes were first put forward in November last year by then-Education Minister Simon Coveney and have since been backed by the Irish Teachers Federation, which is representing nearly 1,000 of the country’s 8,000 teachers.
The proposals have come under criticism from both the teachers’ union, Cymru, and the Irish Union of Teachers.
“We will continue to oppose this, and demand that these changes are reviewed to ensure they are not harmful to our teachers and their colleagues,” said the union’s head of education, Dr Helen MacBride.
“In the meantime, we will continue our work to ensure that this is done in a transparent and fair way.”
The DCEEA, however, has rejected the union claims and said the new roles are necessary to “strengthen social cohesion in the Irish education sector”.
The DFEA said it was working with the Minister for Education, Michael McGrath, on the proposals, but added that the Department will need to make sure that it is “accountable to the teaching profession”.
“This Government is committed to a high-quality, inclusive education system in which every child is valued and supported, but we also recognise the unique challenges and pressures that teachers and teachers’ unions face,” a spokesperson for Minister McGrath said.
In a statement, the Minister said: “It is important that teachers are not put at a disadvantage, especially as we have the highest proportion of full-time teachers in this country, so this is something we are determined to do.”
We have been in discussions with the Government to make this change, and will be discussing the proposals with the Secretary of State’s office.””
We are committed to reviewing the new job title proposals and the Department has the right to review them if they are necessary.
“The Department for Education said that the new changes were required to help ensure that teachers in Ireland had “the appropriate knowledge and training to deliver high quality education for the whole community, including their students”.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that while it was aware of the concerns raised by teachers, it was committed to “supporting our teachers, their colleagues and the education system”.””
We will be taking the views of teachers and teaching unions into consideration when considering the proposed new job categories.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that while it was aware of the concerns raised by teachers, it was committed to “supporting our teachers, their colleagues and the education system”.
“In relation to the proposed job changes, our position is that they are needed to improve social cohesion among our workforce, so the Government is working with its colleagues to consider these proposals,” the spokesman said.