Teachers to ballot on strike action over ban on promotions
The Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) is to ballot its 33,000 members on industrial action in response to the ban on promotions and increasing workloads in primary schools.
Next month's ballot will ask teachers to stop all involvement with the Department of Education's on-going programme of school self-evaluation, which forms part of the inspection process.
The moratorium on promotions, introduced as a cost-cutting measure in the wake of the 2008 economic crash, has led to the loss of thousands of career opportunities in primary schools.
INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said it had severely hit the career prospects of un-promoted teachers, increased the work burden on those in promoted posts and was compromising the running of schools.
"In modern schools, leadership must be shared. There is more administration and bureaucracy than ever. Meeting increased demand from parents, pupils and the Department cannot be done without the necessary resources such as a leadership team of promoted teachers," she said.
She said that recent research by the union showed significantly increased workload stress in primary schools as a result of demands by inspectors, increased paperwork requirements and the continued moratorium on promotion.
Meanwhile, third-level student leaders are calling on politicians to reject any proposal to increase college fees linked to an income-contingent loan scheme.
With a report being prepared for the Government on higher education funding, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has put the issue firmly on the agenda for the general election.
"USI wants an education system that is free of both financial and societal barriers. Failure to adequately invest in education is a failure to invest in society," said USI president Kevin Donoghue.
The USI election manifesto, launched yesterday, also sets out a range of measures that it says are needed to address the student accommodation shortfall, including the use of Nama-owned properties on a temporary basis.
The manifesto calls on the next Government to commit to a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment and allow legal access to abortion, at a minimum, in cases of rape, incest, risk to health or severe and fatal foetal impairment.