Exporting our teachers

Far too many of our Irish trained teachers are leaving Ireland in search of better pay and conditions abroad. There are a number of issues which both encourage teachers to go overseas and which prevent them from returning.

INTO is calling on the Minister for Education to make immediate efforts to resolve the obstacles listed below.

Pay Equality

For many of our teachers the issue of pay inequality remains a key factor in their decision to remain teaching abroad. They cite the damage to morale and the sense of being undervalued by being paid less over their career than colleagues. Many of the teachers choosing to move to places such as Dubai, are younger teachers who are directly affected by the issue of pay inequality.

INTO is currently engaged in a process with DEPR, which followed an agreement on a way forward brokered at our annual Congress in Galway. While that process is ongoing, we are not in a position to comment, save to say we have made the argument that this remains a key issue for teachers here and in Dubai.

Posts of Responsibility

During the recession posts of responsibility were gutted in Ireland. Many teachers working overseas will have access to senior roles within schools which they would have to abandon should they return to Ireland. Over 5,000 posts were lost during the recession and we are calling for their restoration in Budget 2020.

Housing

As a result of increased urbanisation, the bulk of permanent positions that become available are focused in urban areas, in particular Dublin, where the cost of housing tends to be prohibitive and houses and apartments to rent are in low supply. With a large portion of take-home pay being spent on rental payments, and the high cost of living in the capital, many teachers move to Dubai and other places as a means of raising the capital needed to secure a mortgage.

Mobility

Many teachers are disincentivised to return as a large part of the teaching work available tends to be insecure, casual substitute work. This is particularly true outside of cities. Teachers may want to return home but the prospects of getting secure work is slim. A comprehensive teacher supply panel would help remove some of the insecurity from substitute work.

Incentives abroad

For many teachers, a big appeal of teaching somewhere like Dubai is the fact that they can retain much of their take-home pay, as a result of incentives and benefits associated with their employment, such as the provision of accommodation and low, or no, rates of tax.

Quality of life

A smaller factor in the decision of teachers to stay in places like Dubai is their ability to enjoy a higher quality of life, due to having increased disposable income. Teachers have said that because they can retain more of their take-home pay, they can save considerably more money and channel it towards lifestyle improvements such as travel and social activities.

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