THE YOUTH WING of Fine Gael has called on the government to make it compulsory for secondary school teachers to correct papers in the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert exams in a bid to cut down on State spending.
Young Fine Gael members passed a motion calling for compulsory marking at an inaugural summer school named after the party’s late former leader, Garret FitzGerald.
The motion stipulated that correcting papers should be “part of their contract with no additional remuneration”.
It was argued that over half of the annual €30 million budget for holding the State exams was spent on correcting, with teachers earning some €16 million by offering to correct exams under the current opt-in system.
This morning a trade union representing second-level teachers said it saw no reason to tinker with the current system.
“Our current examination system is a rigorous and transparent one. It is vital that that this standard is maintained going forward,” said TUI deputy general secretary Annette Dolan.
“As it stands, the correction of examinations is optional for teachers and this is vitally important in ensuring that the integrity of the system is maintained.”
Dolan said while a public discourse on funding within the education sector was “healthy”, it was important to point out that hundreds of teaching jobs had been lost as a result of cuts to public spending, while remaining teachers had seen pay cut by up to 20 per cent.
The conference also endorsed a motion calling on the introduction of a graduate tax system “as a means to fund Ireland’s ailing third level sector” as long as interim measures were put in place helping students to continue in full-time education if possible.
Other motions endorsed included calls for legalised medicinal marijuana, legislation to give legal recognition to pre-nuptial agreements, plans to avoid holding elections or referenda in the middle of a working week, and that murder convicts should serve a minimum of 25 years of their mandatory life sentences.
A motion which supported FG cabinet minister Phil Hogan’s proposed reforms of local government, and calling on health, transport and education functions to be transferred to local government, did not pass.