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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 28 November, 2014

JobBridge primary teacher ad slammed as “exploitative”

The Department of Education has said that schools can participate in the scheme – but not use it to displace staff or fill a current vacancy.

The JobBridge ad in question
The JobBridge ad in question

A JOBBRIDGE AD for a full-time teaching post has been described as “exploitative”, with one teachers’ union saying it directs its members not to take part in the internship scheme.

The ad is for a nine-month-long primary school teacher post at a school in Athlone. It says the intern – who would be paid €50 a week under the JobBridge national internship scheme – will “gain practical experience in teaching”.

It also says that the intern will:

receive formal/informal training in the following classroom management, self evaluation and classroom evaluation, Interactive white board skills, IT skills to enhance classroom teaching, acquire knowledge of suitable IT resources. Whole school development training in Literacy and Numeracy. On completion the intern will have attained skills in IT use of interactive white board in classroom, be able to access relevant, suitable resources. Be able to self evaluate. Evaluate childrens [sic] work and teach them to self evaluate. The intern will be fully probated by Department of Education.

The skills requirements state that the person must be a “qualified primary teacher”. They would work 30 hours a week and would be assigned a mentor.

“Exploitative”

However, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) told TheJournal.ie that it refuses to endorse the scheme as “we see it as exploitation”.

“There’s no guarantee of jobs at the end of it. This scheme won’t add one job to primary teaching,” continued the INTO statement. “We have a directive directing members not to take part. Any teacher doing this will not get anything out of it”

Sinn Féin education spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien also weighed in with criticism, saying that advertisements carried on the JobBridge website that seek to employ primary school teachers for €50 a week are “exploitative and demeaning to the teaching profession”.

Deputy O’Brien said that another position advertised on the JobBridge website was for a year’s internship at a school in Mallow, County Cork.

This disgraceful exploitation of teachers demeans this most important profession.

He described these internships as “an attempt by the Department of Education and Skills to employ highly skilled teachers for next to nothing” and challenged the Education Minister, Ruairí Quinn, to give his views on this matter.

When contacted about the JobBridge ad, and asked if its intention was to hire an intern to replace a teacher or be used as a supplemental teacher, the Department of Education sent a statement to TheJournal.ie, which read:

The Department of Education and Skills has advised schools that they may participate in the JobBridge scheme if they wish.  The scheme may not be used to displace existing staff or to fill a current vacancy, but any positions may be offered to newly qualified teachers, allowing them to complete the probationary process and become fully registered with the Teaching Council.

It said that the full position was set out in this Department dircular published in 2011.

- Additional reporting by Christine Bohan and Amy Croffey

Read: €54m cost of JobBridge pushes ‘employment supports’ bill up by 10 per cent>

Read: Joan Burton says 23 companies have been banned from JobBridge>

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