In an effort to tackle teacher shortages, schools in Ireland may be encouraged to interview Irish teachers based in the Middle East over Skype.
The new Minister for Education, Joe McHugh, said that there are many teachers based in areas like Abu Dhabi and Dubai. He feels that most of them are unable to fly back to Ireland to attend job interviews.
Mr. McHugh was a former teacher himself and had worked for a considerable time in the UAE. According to The Irish Times, he felt that overseas teachers could play an important role in addressing staff shortages. He reminisces about his time in the Middle East and said that he often felt that he was not remembered because he was away from home.
Mr. McHugh was addressing the annual conference of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD). He feels that creative ways to bring back Irish teachers like Skype interviews could be an answer to the ongoing staff crisis.
NAPD’s President, Mary Keane, said that many schools lacked teachers in key subjects like Irish, Science, European languages, and Home Economics. She said that the staff crisis has led affluent parents to enroll their wards in grind schools.
Mr. McHugh said that the Dept. of Foreign Affairs could play a role in attracting teachers back home by spreading awareness of available job opportunities. He says he is aware of the time pressures that the schools are facing and will take stock of the Irish Government’s plans.
He further acknowledged that Irish schools needed more certainty of grants paid for renovation. These grants are typically paid at the end of the summer or at the end of the year.
The Minister also pledged that the funding for summer works would be available by the summer and minor grants would be available by Christmas over the coming years.
Mr. McHugh also pledged a grant of 60 million Euros to upgrade ICT equipment and would be paid out to the schools by January of next year.
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