SECONDARY schools across Limerick are closed again today as teachers hold a second day of strike action over changes to the Junior Cert curriculum.
An estimated 600 teachers across Limerick are taking part in the one-day walkout, backed by the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI).
They are protesting over changes to the Junior Cert cycle which would see a more assessment-based curriculum introduced, and teachers correcting their own students’ work.
Former Labour councillor, and a teacher at Scoil Carmel, Tom Shortt said educational professionals have reached a “tipping point”.
“Teachers have year upon year been asked to do more with less, and the stress of all of that has seen us reach a tipping point,” he said.
“Teachers regret the situation and would rather be in the classroom. Genuinely on the ground, teachers are hoping there will be a resolution. But at the same time, you have to see that in the union, the overwhelming majority voted to make a stand on the issue.”
However, the strike actions have been called ‘excessive’ by Donncha Ó Treasaigh, the principal of Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh at Sir Harry’s Mall in the city.
Speaking on Newstalk this morning, he said: “I believe the strike action is excessive. Current pupils are suffering the loss of days because of strike action. Closing a school is a really serious issue for parents, school bodies and management organisations and the teachers themselves. I believe strike days are an absolute disgrace in this climate.”
Education Minister and local Limerick TD Jan O’Sullivan said she disagreed with the strike.
“I think the leadership of the teachers should reconsider what’s going on here. They’re taking children out of school. The threat of another strike is really worrying for the students, particularly the Leaving Cert students.”