Daly calls on INTO to review opposition to JobBridge Scheme

Stance adopted by union demonstrates an ‘I’m alright, Jack’ approach to graduate teachers

Speaking today (Thursday) during a Topical Issue Debate in the Dáil, Fine Gael Cork South West Deputy and member of the Oireachtas Committee on Education, Jim Daly, raised the issue of the on-going opposition of members of the INTO to the Job Bridge scheme, saying the approach being adopted is unfair to graduate teachers and denies them the opportunity of gaining valuable teaching experience.

“There are currently hundreds of graduate teachers throughout the country who would jump at the opportunity to gain valuable teaching experience, which could be obtained under the JobBridge Scheme and would facilitate them in completing the probation period needed to complete their qualification.

“The very public opposition stance being adopted by the INTO to the JobBridge Scheme is denying graduate teachers the chance to get hands-on teaching experience, which would help get their careers off the ground.

“In Castlehaven NS in West Cork, a school which is in favour of but doesn’t avail of JobBridge placements, there are 39 junior and senior infants in one classroom. The class teacher is also acting principal in the four teacher school, so the provision of a JobBridge participant would act as a temporary win-win for the graduate involved and overcrowded classrooms in Irish schools. Any fears that a JobBridge teacher would in any way contribute to the displacement of another is completely unfounded as every school is allocated one teacher for every 28 students. What’s more, there are only 58 teaching positions under JobBridge this year so any scaremongering in this regard is just that.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that one school’s Board of Management told parents that they could not take on a JobBridge participant as the INTO ‘could punish teachers’ in the school for cooperating with the scheme. This is all the more ludicrous when consideration is given to the fact that the INTO recently ran a campaign highlighting over-crowding in our classrooms.

“The stance being adopted by the INTO is tantamount to an ‘I’m alright, Jack’ culture to next generation teachers. Ministers Cannon and Quinn have undertaken to make contact with the INTO to ask them to review their opposition to the JobBridge scheme. Job Bridge is an ideal solution for graduate teachers wishing to gain experience. I am calling on the INTO to see sense and stop penalising graduate teachers in this cruel and callous way.”