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Teacher Recruitment and Retention Crisis Remains a Grave Concern

TL;DR

  • TUI advocates urgent reforms to address the teacher recruitment and retention crisis, emphasizing full-hour contracts and recognition for returning teachers.
  • Balancing innovation with integrity, TUI cautiously embraces AI in education while advocating for robust regulatory frameworks.
  • TUI highlights the detrimental impact of administrative burden on educators and calls for AI to streamline tasks, enabling more focus on teaching and learning.

The annual congress of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) met in Killarney on Thursday for a conference. A recent survey conducted by the TUI’s Principals’ and Deputy Principals’ Association has pointed to the magnitude of the problem, as over three in every four schools had vacancies in which no teacher applied. This crisis remains without respite in their life, leaving them, as well as educators, struggling for solutions and throwing policymakers back in the same wrestling ring.

Urgent measures needed

The TUI is continuing to press for reforms that are critically needed to reduce the recruitment and retention pressures on teachers throughout the country. These would include full-hour contracts on initial appointment, the return of posts of responsibility in order to stem teacher bleeding, and reducing the period for the Professional Master of Education (PME) with a view to making the profession more accessible. On the other hand, the TUI insists that the service of teachers coming back from abroad needs to be recognized in its totality with respect to the recognition of incremental credit.

Balancing innovation with integrity

TUI, however, continues with cautious optimism to embrace technological advancements, including but not limited to using artificial intelligence (AI) in education to offer potential benefits while maintaining its solid commitment to the application of technology for integrity in the assessment processes. Education Minister Norma Foley’s move to suspend plans for a teacher-invigilated student certification, which had warned against the dangers of AI, was the latest balancing act between innovation and maintaining public assurance.

The TUI advocates for strong guidelines and regulatory frameworks, coupled with an unrelenting follow-up on the continued need for assessment and updating in the ever-evolving landscape of AI in education.

Addressing administrative burden

 One of the most pressing concerns voiced by educators is that escalating administrative duties are detracting from teaching and learning. The TUI highlights evidence of damage brought about by the bureaucratic load on teacher morale and retention under the rubric of researching AI’s ability to streamline administrative tasks. That would further off-load them from unnecessary paperwork and non-teaching loads, enabling them to plunge more into their core objective of passing on knowledge and facilitating student development.

Ensuring parity and fairness

Pay and adherence to collective agreements is a very militant issue with members of TUI at the tertiary level. The Department of Further and Higher Education has cleared the way for Munster Technological University (MTU) to hire staff for a range of roles that will be added to its campuses following a series of protests and industrial action over pay disparities. TUI, however, insists on the need for parity in the technological university sector, saying there is to be equitable treatment, equality, and parity, as well as national negotiation protocols.

 This, therefore, calls for collective responsibility and action on the part of all the stakeholders who have an interest and value in the Irish education system. The teaching approach is pointed towards a sustainable and growing educational environment for educators and students. TUI addresses the underlying issues of recruiting and retaining teachers, grappling with the complexities of responsible AI integration, and promoting fairness and parity.

Original Story From https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/education/2024/04/02/teachers-want-to-teach-not-tick-boxes-ai-could-be-key-to-realising-this/

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Glory Kaburu

Glory is an extremely knowledgeable journalist proficient with AI tools and research. She is passionate about AI and has authored several articles on the subject. She keeps herself abreast of the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning and writes about them regularly.

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