TEN teachers working at the Limerick College of Further Education, Mulgrave Street, have been told there will be no jobs for them next September.
The announcement follows the decision of the Department of Eductation and Skills to increase the student-teacher ratio from 17-1 to 19-1.
“It has the potential to be very damaging for the community in Limerick as we estimate that the College will lose something like 4,400 hours,” said former president of the Teachers Union of Ireland, Don Ryan, who is also a teacher in the school.
He said that the 10 teachers are all recent graduates. “There is a human aspect to this as well, we have 10 well educated people losing their jobs. These are bread winners who have been told that their contracts will not be renewed after the end of August,” said Mr Ryan.
There are over 1,115 post Leaving Cert students at the Limerick College of Further Education, doing day and night classes in everything from information technology and business to course in sport.
“We are still hopeful of some mitigation by the Minister and that it might be introduced over a number of years,” said Mr Ryan.
But Mr Quinn has staunchly defended the cuts announced in the Budget for the further education sector, Mr Quinn told the Dáil that while they would have preferred not to make the cuts, they would still spend almost €900 million this year on further education.
He said there would still be 32,688 places for post leaving certificate (PLC) courses despite the increase in the pupil-teacher ratio.
“In making my decisions last December I found it hard to justify providing more generous pupil teacher ratios in PLC colleges, which are largely geared towards adults, than in second-level schools which cater for teenagers,” he said.
The minister has acknowledged the move might reduce the subject choice available to students. “I trust that chief executive officers of VECs and principals in colleges of further education will protect the courses which deliver the best outcomes.”