Schools 'most essential building in community'
With just weeks to go before another academic year gets underway, teachers can take heart from the results of a survey showing Munster people hold its educators in higher esteem than they do nearly any other profession.
Teachers emerged as second only to medics as the most valued professionals in Munster in a survey of 500 Irish adults carried out by specialist insurance firm Ecclesiastical. As its name suggests, the firm insures some of the biggest buildings in the country - from cathedrals to schools and theatres. And its survey has also revealed that Munster people regard schools as the most irreplaceable buildings in their communities.
It will come as welcome news to the teaching profession here that so many view schools as more important than any other building in their community - a quarter of all respondents cited schools as the single most important structures; followed by post offices (18 per cent of respondents) and religious centres.
Of those who named teachers as the most irreplaceable members of the community, over three-quarters (76 per cent) said it is because they help the next generation to reach their potential. Nearly half (47 per cent) fear that cuts to public funding are the biggest threat to teachers in Ireland.
Ecclesiastical surveyed the group to uncover the places that people feel they would be lost without. Ecclesiastical insures much of the nation's irreplaceable heritage - from Christ Church Cathedral to the National Opera House - but also insures schools, charities, museums and churches.
Close to two-thirds (65 per cent) of Munster adults report playing an active role in helping their community, with over half (53 per cent) of these saying they are motivated by a desire to help others.
"The research delves into what it is about a person or building that makes it irreplaceable to Irish society," Managing Director for Ireland at Ecclesiastical Insurance Group David Lane said.
"Clearly, Ireland cares deeply about its schools and teachers, and views them as providing vital services to the community and helping people reach their potential. It comes as no surprise that Irish people value schools so highly.
"There is more to a building than just the walls. They provide invaluable spaces for communities to come together and spend time with others," he added.