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We need 3,000 extra teachers warns Quinn

IRISH schools will require an extra 3,000 teachers at a cost of €90m over the next three years as a result of the baby boom, the Education Minister has claimed.

Ruairi Quinn has admitted that a huge surge in school enrolments will create the need for the massive number of new teaching posts.

However, the additional teachers will cause huge strain on the Department of Education's multi-million euro budget and lead to fears that classroom size will increase dramatically.

The Labour minister admitted at an education conference that a current baby boom will prompt schools to require an additional 3,000 teacher positions.

The news is sure to alert trainee teachers who fear being jobless when they graduate from third-level courses.

It's predicted that primary school enrolments will rise by 64,000 by 2017 and reach an unprecedented figure of 579,000 pupils.

And Mr Quinn's department believes secondary school numbers will increase to 348,000 -- a rise of 25,000 pupils.

However, Mr Quinn will come under intense pressure to explain how the positions will be afforded. It is estimated that the cost of 3,000 additional posts would be in the region of €90m, based on starting salaries of €30,000.

A department spokesperson has indicated that the massive requirements have already been factored into budgetary calculations.

The minister will also need to explain how the posts will be created given the current embargo in the public sector.

As revealed by the Herald last month, hundreds of graduates are lingering on the dole as schools are left with no choice but to give work to "unqualified" teachers.