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Education staff only returning for exams

THE re-hiring of retired staff in the education sector is primarily focussed on getting students through their exams this year, the Department of Education has said.

As well as teachers of Leaving and Junior Certificate classes, some recently retired third-level staff are also seeing out the academic year with their students.

Academics and other third-level staff who returned to their old jobs immediately after retiring are being paid at one-fifth their old salary.

It means that a professor who retired at €140,000, is now being paid on the basis of a €28,000-a-year salary.

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) said in nearly all of the cases referred to, staff remained in their position to see out the academic year.

Some staff were in highly specialised roles.

Staffing in higher education has been cut by over 1,400 since 2008, under a cost-cutting deal that also ruled that anyone who is re-hired would be paid at 20pc of their previous salary.

About 300 second-level teachers who opted for the recent early retirement deal have been re-hired to ensure continuity for this year's Leaving and Junior Cert exam classes.

Teachers who returned to work after retirement are being paid at the bottom of their scale, at about €28,000 a year, and on the basis that their employment ends in June.

An outcry last year over the use of retirees and unqualified staff to cover teacher absences has significantly reduced the number of retired staff in schools.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn introduced new rules to ensure that any teaching opportunities go to newly qualified graduates.

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) said three out of six people who retired under the recent early retirement deal were awarded short-term contracts to undertake specific specialised tasks essential for the 2012 examinations.

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