Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien T.D. has stated that Minister Ruairi Quinn’s refusal to properly negotiate with teachers has resulted in both the ASTI and TUI voting for industrial action today.
Deputy O’Brien made the comments following the result of today’s ASTI and TUI ballots in which teachers voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in opposition to the proposed introduction of a new Junior Cycle.
“The recent protest by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) and Association of Secondary School Teachers (ASTI) over the planned changes to the Junior Cycle programme should act as a wake-up call to Education Minister Ruairí Quinn.
“However, the Minister did not wake-up and his refusal to properly negotiate with teachers has seriously compromised Junior Cycle reform.
“The Minister has failed to acknowledge that second level teachers have genuine concerns about what is being proposed for the Junior Cert and the capacity of schools to implement radical changes at a time when hundreds of millions of Euros have been cut from the education budget.
“To date, Sinn Féin has been generally supportive of Minister’s Quinn’s plans, believing that progressive reforming measures are needed.
“However, having a vision for change is rendered meaningless without the necessary supports and it is very worrying that the most important resource of all, our teachers, are opposed to the Minister's plans.
“As a result of today’s ballot, the TUI and ASTI members will follow a directive of non-cooperation with a range of activities related to the Minister`s plans. This will cause serious disruption to short courses and any activity related to school-based assessment.
“The escalation points to a failure on behalf of Minister Quinn and his department to negotiate properly with the TUI and ASTI, who to be fair have stated on many occasions that they are not opposed to many of the reforming measures contained in the Framework Document.
“The impasse will further demoralise and alienate our teachers who have been to the fore in maintaining educational standards despite government cuts to their profession.
“It is time now for the Minister to implement a radical change in the way he is dealing with teachers and to do more than pay lip-service to addressing their concerns.”