Ireland’s Minister for Education Joe McHugh is set to visit the United Arab Emirates this summer to hold meetings with Irish expat teachers, with the aim of persuading them to return home to fill the growing shortage of teachers in Irish schools.
McHugh told reporters in Ireland late last week he had instructed the Irish embassy in Abu Dhabi to survey Irish teachers working in the UAE to see what obstacles they see to returning home to work in Ireland.
“I don’t want to arrive to UAE from a plane just for the sake of a conversation and then come home. So, I’m doing preliminary work and engaging with the embassy in UAE… I’ll also organise townhall meetings to meet with them (teachers) and see what we can do,” McHugh was quoted as saying by the Irish Times newspaper.
Deirdre Mathews, president of the Association of Management of Catholic Secondary Schools and Joint Managerial Body, told the newspaper the shortage of teachers was the biggest challenge facing the Irish education system.
“It is important that you understand that this crisis now affects all subject areas during the school year and even during the summer recruitment season, schools experience real difficulties in filling viable posts in key subject areas,” she said.
The report estimated that around 6,000 qualified Irish teachers work abroad, with a large number working in the UAE.
Arabian Business has contacted the Irish embassy in Abu Dhabi for comment.
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