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Irish teachers still owed €142,000 for teaching Libyan Leaving Certs

The Department of Education says it has only just learned that teachers were left with unpaid wages from two years ago.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

IRISH TEACHERS WHO prepared students for the Leaving Certificate exams at an international school in Tripoli have been left waiting for unpaid wages for over two years, it has emerged.

The 17 Irish teachers were employed at the International School of Martyrs (ISM) – the only venue outside Ireland which offers Leaving Certificate exams – but had to flee the country in early 2011 due to the uprising against the Gaddafi regime.

The Department of Education says it has no role in ensuring the teachers are paid, as they are not Departmental employees and worked for a private entity in Libya.

However, both that Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs are now in contact with the Libyan government and with school authorities to try and recover the unpaid wages for the workers.

The Irish embassy in Rome, which is also accredited to Libya, has also been asked to help the matter be resolved.

Arrangements were made for the ISM students sitting the 2012 Leaving Cert exam to take the exams at a designated exam centre in Malta, but only a handful of students showed up to sit the exams.

After last year’s exams, the State Examinations Commission said it would no longer make arrangements for the Libyan students to sit Ireland’s end-of-school exam.

Speaking in the Dáil on the issue last night, Brendan Howlin said Ireland remained “strongly committed to developing our bilateral relations even further and to promoting greater co-operation in areas of mutual interest”.

“It is important to recall this context in considering this particular issue and the current efforts to resolve it,” he said.

Fianna Fáil’s Seamus Kirk said the teachers had been left without recourse because of the turmoil in Libya, and because they were not formally employed by the Department of Education as other secondary teachers would

The ISM had built a reputation as a popular school for the children of oil workers from all over the world, and its management had considered the Leaving Certificate to be an ideal appraisal of the level of knowledge that a pupil should have at the end of their secondary school tutelage.

Read: Dept. of Education to overhaul Leaving Cert programme and points race

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Gavan Reilly

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