PISA in Focus Report 16/2/12
INTO welcomes OECD backing for investment in teachers' salaries
Thursday, 16 February 2012
In general, the countries that perform well in PISA attract the best students into the teaching profession by offering them higher salaries and greater professional status - PISA in Focus Report 13 (OECD)
The INTO today welcomed the acknowledgement by the OECD that the strongest performing countries in the OECD invest in teachers’ salaries. The union said government must heed this advice particularly given the recent reductions imposed on new entrant teachers. Since 2008 the salaries of new entrant teachers have been reduced by more than a quarter.
The general secretary of the INTO Sheila Nunan said there was no room for further cuts to salary. “Irish teachers on average earn less than workers with similar education levels and years of experience in Ireland.” She said teachers in Ireland earn on average 88% of the income of workers with similar education levels in Ireland.
Ms. Nunan said recent salary comparisons with teachers in other countries do not take account of public service pay cuts in Ireland such as the pension levy (7.5%), pay cut (-6.5%) or the changes to new teachers salary levels (- 14%). “Claims that Irish teachers on average earn far above OECD levels of salary need to be adjusted in light of these cuts and also take account of the fact that Irish teachers do less well than similarly qualified graduates in Ireland.”
The INTO said Irish primary teachers teach 20 percent longer than the EU21 average and on average teach 4 additional pupils per class. Irish classes remain the second highest in the EU. The union challenged comments in the report relating to class size.
The report states that PISA finds that the size of the class is unrelated to the school system’s overall performance. Ms. Nunan said international research supported class size reductions when children were young and for disadvantaged children. “All research points to the fact that small class sizes when children are young (under 9 years of age) pays substantial dividends in terms of better educational outcomes,” she said.