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Sudden closure of Grafton College exposes need for greater job security in English language sector – Funchion

4 December, 2018 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Commenting on the sudden and unannounced closure of Grafton College which has left more than 20 teachers without a month’s salary, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education Kathleen Funchion TD said the situation was not new in the English language sector and it once again exposed the precarious nature of the sector and the need for the Qualification and Quality Assurance Bill, which is currently before the Oireachtas, to be passed quickly so that students and teachers have greater security.

The Carlow-Kilkenny TD said:

“The English language sector is highly profitable in Ireland and has been for decades. Yet, the progress of regulation in the sector has been slow and this was highlighted again with the closure of Grafton College this week. We also saw almost two dozen such schools close between 2014 and 2015. These closures often leave students and teachers out of pocket, out of a job and denied the chance to complete their courses.

 “Without proper regulation of this sector, this will happen again and again. It has to change.

“The International Education Mark was announced in July of this year and was a much welcome announcement, given the sometimes precarious nature of this sector. The Bill giving effect to the IEM would allow QQI, independent State agency responsible for promoting quality and accountability in education and training services in Ireland, to examine the academic and financial capacity of providers and provide a ‘Protection for Enrolled Learners Fund’, which would allow students to complete a course if their provider shuts down. 

“This week, that proposed legislation is scheduled for debate in the Seanad.

“Senators need to support amendments which are calling for minimum employment standards for English language teachers.

“There is an opportunity now in the Oireachtas to improve job security for TEFL teachers. The legislation with the amendments needs to pass through quickly so that the business of exploiting TEFL teachers ends.” 

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