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Deputy O’Brien welcomes Department’s decision to no longer freeze teachers’ allowances

5 November, 2012 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin education spokesperson, Jonathan O’Brien, TD, has welcomed the decision by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) to reverse its decision to freeze qualification allowances from the budget of 5 December 2011 for serving teachers who had commenced courses of further study.

Describing the decision as a “small victory for common sense”, the Cork North Central Deputy said that teachers should have incentives to upskill.

He continued: “If we are to achieve the highest standards in education, and match the success of progressive countries such as Finland and New Zealand, then we need to follow their example and ensure teachers are incentivised and rewarded for enhancing their skills at post-graduate level.

“The decision by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) to reverse their freeze on allowances, whilst welcome, still only applies to qualifications that are additional to those required for teaching such as Master and Doctoral degrees and certain specialist teaching diplomas.

“It is also clear that Education Minister Ruairí Quinn has been forced to revise this short-sighted policy because of pressure from the teaching unions who have always maintained teachers have a legitimate expectation to receive allowances when they undertook their courses of study.

“This announcement also highlights the unfairness of the cuts that have been imposed on newly-qualified teachers whose pay and allowances have been hardest hit in recent times and Sinn Féin will continue to lobby the minister to reverse this unjust policy change.”

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