Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien and his party colleague Cllr Mick Nugent met today with Eugene Sheehan, the Principal of Terence MacSwiney Community College in Cork to discuss the mounting concerns that the increase to the pupil teacher ratio (PTR) for PLC programmes will result in up to 400 teachers losing their jobs and courses being cancelled.
Deputy O’Brien has described as “short-sighted and potentially very damaging” the increase to the Pupil Teacher Ratio from 17:1 – 19:1 that was announced in Budget 2013 and he said this latest cut to the education sector would unfairly impact on marginalised learners.
“The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has said that the increase in the PTR will result in the loss of 200 whole time equivalent (WTE) posts which, if correct, will mean an estimated 400 teachers losing their jobs.
“In my own Cork constituency there are fears that 25 full-time equivalent or 50 part-time teachers across the three further education colleges in Cork could be lost and specialised courses at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa might be brought to an enforced end.
“These were some of the issues Cllr Nugent and I discussed at our meeting today with the Principal of Terence MacSwiney Community College in Cork.
“The government has talked a lot about incentivising people to upskill and retrain in order to enhance their employment prospects yet they push ahead with cuts in income supports for people who are unemployed and attempting to participate in further/adult education and training courses.
“Increasing class sizes in this this sector is a short-sighted measure because the resulting job losses will greatly off-set any potential savings and it will undermine the quality of learning for second chance learners, particularly those who may not be well suited to mainstream education.
“I have raised this matter with Minister Quinn and he needs to explain what impact study was been carried out in advance of this cut. He also needs to look at the implications arising from this decision and reverse the change in the PTR otherwise hundreds of teaching jobs will be lost.”